PhD and Postdoc Projects





Joris Van Grieken  |  Prof. dr. Jan Van der Stock (University of Leuven) and Prof. dr. A.M. Koldeweij (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)

"Belgarum Splendor": Reproductions and the reception of early Netherlandish masters in the period 1550-1650

In the Netherlands after 1550 a number of prints were created that faithfully reproduced the ‘inventions’ of early Netherlandish masters. The reproductions are often anonymous, but in some cases the name of the ‘inventor’ is explicitly mentioned on the print: Bosch, Van der Weyden, Metsys and Geertgen to St.-Jans, Lucas Van Leyden, Jan Gossaert... Although by this period their works were already outmoded in formal terms it seems a need was felt to reproduce (a few of) their paintings, without too much adaptation to the new taste, in print form. This phenomenon is of exceptional importance as regards cultural history, for it is, in embryonic form, the earliest witness to what we could call ‘art-historical’ interest.


Soetkin Vanhauwaert |  Prof. dr. Barbara Baert (University of Leuven) and Dr. Cyriel Stroo (KIK/IRPA)

‘Caput Johannis in disco’. Iconologie van de Johannesschüssel in de Lage Landen: object-functie-medium

Based on three lines of research – object, function and medium – I intend to reveal the 'phenomenon' of the medieval and early modern Johannesschüssel, and, in this way, put this forgotten cult object back in the spotlight. This three-dimensional representation of the head of John the Baptist on a platter emerged in the early thirteenth century throughout Europe. On the one hand Johannesschüsseln refer to the biblical texts about the beheading of John the Baptist, on the other hand they show a significant affinity with the relic cult of the saint, in particular with the skull relic of Amiens.

The research will be limited to the context in the Low Countries between 1200-1700 and mainly focus on the origin, typology and distribution of the object (1), on its Sitz im Leben, the changing functions and archetypes through the Middle Ages and early modern times (2), and finally the impact of different media, from its origins in the sculpture around 1200 until the later stages in sculpture as well as in painting.

‘Caput Johannis in disco’ forms part of a broader research project concerning the Johannesschüssel under the supervision of prof. dr. Barbara Baert.


Georg Geml  |  Prof. dr. Barbara Baert (University of Leuven)

Form Ever Follows Function? Use and Reuse of the Johannesschüssel in Central Europe

In the beginning/middle of the 13th century a type of sculpture emerged, called the Johannesschüssel. It shows the severed head of John the Baptist on a platter, thetrophy the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas received as a reward for her dance at the birthday party of Herod. Nearly all examples are approximately life-sized and made of several materials like wood, stone, brick, metal or Alabaster.

In my dissertation project, I discuss three aspects that were defining for the production of the Johannesschüssel: the relationship between forerunner, saviour and redeemer – John the Baptist, Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul; the veneration of John the Baptist in the late Middle Ages by the different kinds of orders in Germany and Italy; and finally the question of the (sometimes lacking) continuity of the use of the Johannesschüssel during the holy masses.

Form Ever Follows Function? forms part of a broader research project concerning the Johannesschüssel under the supervision of prof. dr. Barbara Baert.


Jeroen Luyckx | Prof. dr. Jan Van der Stock (University of Leuven)

Hans I Liefrinck (c. 1515-1573). Antwerp Printmaker and Publisher in a Dynasty of Printmakers

This doctoral research fits within the contemporary development in art historical research of focussing on a publisher and his production in a specific sociocultural context, rather than to study the isolated output of an artist. The prints published by the Liefrinck family have never been thoroughly examined as a whole and are therefore a gap in the existing scholarly literature on Netherlandish printmaking.

This project will study the output, family and milieu of the Antwerp printmaker and publisher Hans I Liefrinck (c. 1515-1573). On the one hand, this research aims to map the prints that were cut, engraved, printed or published by Hans Liefrinck. These prints will be studied on an iconographic, stylistic, and technical level in order to evaluate the profile and the artistic and economic importance of Liefrinck’s publishing house. On the other hand, this project intends to create a clear image of his family and his position in the socio-economic context of 16th-century Antwerp and Europe.

This doctoral research is made possible by a research fellowship of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project is supported by Huigen Leeflang (Curator of Prints at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam) and supervised by Jan Van der Stock (Professor at the University of Leuven).


Daan van Heesch | FWO PhD fellow | Prof. dr. Jan Van der Stock and prof. dr. Paul Vandenbroeck (University of Leuven)

Re-imagining Hieronymus Bosch: The Transnational Reception and Afterlife of a Pictorial Mode in the Early Modern Period

From the early sixteenth century onwards, the pictorial mode of the Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516) disseminated rapidly over Europe through a multitude of derivative images, ranging from accurate replicas to creative pastiches. Drawing on some fresh and previously unknown sources, this PhD dissertation will examine the diverse ways in which Bosch’s mode of image-making outlived its original production circumstances and branched off into new artistic forms, themes and motifs. By providing a transnational and global framework on the reception and afterlife of Bosch and his successors (notably Pieter Bruegel the Elder), the project tends to show how visual and textual responses to Bosch shaped and inflected his image as both picture-maker and pictorial brand in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The dissertation will be composed of several case studies, ranging from the commercial metropolis of Antwerp to the Franciscan convents of the colonial Andes, each highlighting a different aspect of Bosch’s reception history in the early modern period.



Dominic E. Delarue (2015) Die Legendare aus der ‚Rue Neuve de Notre Dame‘. Dispositio und Bildformeln als Mittel visueller Kommunikation in der Pariser Buchproduktion der ersten Hälfte des 14. Jahrhunderts (cotutelle de thèse; supervisors: Barbara Baert and Lieselotte E. Saurma)

Elham Etemadi (2015) Sani' ol-Molk, The Thousand and One Nights and the Persian Art of Book Illustration: A Study in Iconography and Semiotics (supervisor: Barbara Baert; co-supervisor: Helge Daniëls)

Emma Sidgwick (2012) Touching the Threshold to Creation. The Haemorrhoissa Motif (Mark 5:24B-34parr) between Anthropological Origin and Image Paradigm (supervisor: Barbara Baert; co-supervisor: Paul Vandenbroeck)

Liesbet Kusters (2012) Tussen zoom en beeld. Het motief van de genezing van de Haemorrhoissa (Marcus 5: 24b-34) in de narratieve en visuele cultuur van de westerse Middeleeuwen. Een iconologische studie (supervisor: Barbara Baert)

Bart Fransen (2009) 'Van goeden cusbaeren steenen'. Steensculptuur in Brussel ten tijde van Rogier van der Weyden. (supervisor: Jan Van der Stock; co-supervisor: Cyriel Stroo)

Matthijs Ilsink (2009) Bosch en Bruegel als Bosch. Kunst over kunst bij Pieter Bruegel (c. 1528-1569) en Jheronimus Bosch (c. 1450-1516) (supervisors: Jos Koldeweij and Jan Van der Stock)

Katrien Van Haute (2009) Jos Léonard en de ontstaansgeschiedenis van het grafisch ontwerp in België (1918-1936) (supervisor: Jan Van der Stock)

Lieve Watteeuw (2008) De handdruk van Chronos. Zorgen voor het middeleeuwse manuscript (1731-1937) (supervisor: Jan Van der Stock)

Karen De Coene (2006) Navelnacht. Regeneratie en totaalkennis in de Middeleeuwen (12de en 15de/16de eeuw) (supervisors: Bert Cardon and Paul Vandenbroeck)

Hanno Wijsman (2003) Gebonden weelde. Productie van geïllustreerde handschriften en adellijk boekenbezit in de Bourgondische Nederlanden (1400-1550) (supervisors: Wim Blockmans and Bert Cardon)

Brigitte Dekeyzer (2002) Vorstelijke luxe en devotie. Het Breviarium Mayer van den Bergh (Gent/Brugge, ca. 1500) in artistiek, religieus en historisch perspectief  (supervisor: Bert Cardon)

Anna Bergmans (1997) Middeleeuwse muurschilderingen in de 19de eeuw: studie en inventaris van middeleeuwse muurschilderingen in Belgische kerken (supervisor: Maurits Smeyers)

Barbara Baert (1997) Een erfenis van heilig hout of de neerslag van het teruggevonden kruis in tekst en beeld tijdens de Middeleeuwen: een iconologische studie van de Kruislegende (supervisor: Maurits Smeyers)

Dominique Vanwijnsberghe (1996) Contribution à l'étude de l'enluminure à Tounai à la fin du Moyen Age (supervisor: Maurits Smeyers)

Jan Van der Stock (1995) Beeld in veelvoud te Antwerpen (15de eeuw – 1585) Productie – controle – consumptie. Vijf perspectieven – met speciale aandacht voor houtsnede en kopergravure (supervisor: Maurits Smeyers)

Chris Coppens (1993) Caute legendum: boekenbezit in de Zuidelijke Nederlanden tijdens de tweede helft van de zestiende eeuw: een boekenwetenschappelijk onderzoek (supervisor: Maurits Smeyers)

Cyriel Stroo (1992) De celebratie van de macht. Presentatieminiaturen en aanverwante voorstellingen in handschriften van Filips de Goede (1419-1467) en Karel de Stoute (1467-1477) (supervisor: Maurits Smeyers)

Paul Vandenbroeck (1986) Betekenisoverdracht, axio-/ideologie en folkloristische substraten in het werk van Jheronimus Bosch (ca. 1450-1516) als paradigma van een vroege middenburgerlijke kultuurproduktie (supervisors: Jan Karel Steppe and Maurits Smeyers)

Jan Muylle (1986) Genus gryllorum, gryllorum pictores: legitimatie, evaluatie en interpretatie van genre-iconografie en van de biografieën van genreschilders in de Nederlandse kunstliteratuur (ca. 1550-ca. 1750) (supervisor: Maurits Smeyers)

Bert Cardon (1985) De speculum humanae salvationis in de Zuidelijke Nederlanden (ca. 1410- ca. 1470): een bijdrage tot de studie van de 15de eeuwse miniatuurkunst en van de functie en betekenis van het historisch symbolisme (supervisor: Maurits Smeyers)