In 2005, Wendy Wauters (°1983) obtained a Master of Visual Arts degree from St. Lukas Brussels. She later enrolled in Art History at KU Leuven and graduated in 2017 with a thesis on early modern evocations of the healing and makeability of men who are overcome by temporary insanity, stupidity or narheid, supervised by Prof. dr. Barbara Baert and Prof. dr. Jan Van der Stock. Meanwhile, she worked as an intern at Fondation Custodia (Paris), as a student employee at Illuminare (KU Leuven) and as a scientific assistant at Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Antwerp).
Wauters received her PhD from KU Leuven in Art History in 2021, where she authored a dissertation on the late medieval sensory perceptions in the lost pre-Tridentine décor of Antwerp’s Church of Our Lady. By mirroring the observations against the widely disseminated knowledge of the sensorium, an attempt is made to bring the perceived impact of the experiences into a larger, understandable frame. This research does not aim to provide an exhaustive and objective inventory of the social interactions and ritual acts in the late medieval parish church. It does, however, use quasi-anecdotal data and subjective testimonies to find out more about the physical and spiritual experience of the so-called religious middle groups. This paradigm is then dissected in view of its translations to the user context, typology and iconography of the liturgical objects that circulated in the building. In this way, ornamenta sacra function as unexplored trails to the documentary value of late medieval imagery and the complex of religious beliefs among churchgoers. This research is part of the BRAIN-be project Ornamenta sacra, a collaboration between UCL (Ralph Dekoninck), KU Leuven (Barbara Baert) and KIK-IRPA (Marie-Christine Claes).
Her recent publications include The Invisible Presence of Ornamenta Sacra in the Antwerp Church of Our Lady (Art & Religion, forthcoming),Smelling Disease and Death in the Antwerp Church of Our Lady (Early Modern Low Countries, 2021), and several contributions for the exhibition catalogue Bruegel in Black and White (2019). She has been awarded the Olbrechts Prize 2018 for her master’s thesis Een oven vol van menig hoofd en zotten bol. The Olbrechts Prize is awarded every two years to a thesis related to popular culture.