Luc Duerloo

Professor in ordinary

Short curriculum

Luc Duerloo (1958) is professor in ordinary at the Department of History of the University of Antwerp, where he teaches early modern political history.

He defended his doctorate on the nobility, heraldic officials and the politics of bureaucratisation in the Austrian Netherlands at the University of Leuven in 1986. Building on this research, he published the four volume Armorial de la noblesse belge together with Paul Janssens. He was scientific secretary of the exhibition Karel-Alexander van Lotharingen:  Mens, veldheer, grootmeester (Landcommanderij Alden Biesen, 1987) and curator of the exhibitions Albrecht & Isabella, 1598−1621 (Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis Brussels, 1998) and Hungaria regia (Paleis voor Schone Kunsten Brussels, 1999). In the course of his research project on the court of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella, he was Hans Kohn Member of the School of Historical Studies of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (spring semester 2007-2008) and visiting scholar of the Department of History of Columbia University (spring semester 2009-2010).

His current research focusses on the Court of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella, their international policies and artistic patronage. As a first result he published, in collaboration with Marc Wingens, Scherpenheuvel: Het Jeruzalem van de Lage Landen (Leuven, 2002), a book on the creation of the pilgrimage shrine of Scherpenheuvel and its emblematic artistic programme. The monograph Dynasty and Piety: Archduke Albert (1598-1621) and Habsburg Political Culture in an Age of Religious Wars (Farnham, 2012) won the Filips van Marnix van Sint Aldegonde prize for history 2011.

The Age of Rubens (edited volume with Malcom Smuts, 2016)

This thoroughly interdisciplinary collection of essays explores the multi-faceted relationship between international politics, diplomacy and the visual arts that developed during the early seventeenth century. Several chapters provide major re-evaluations of the career of Peter Paul Rubens as an artistdiplomat, based on previously neglected manuscript sources and a deepened analysis of the social and political environments in which he operated. Other contributors focus on Rubens’s contemporary court artists, such as Anthony van Dyck, Guido Reni and Diego Velázquez. In addition to providing original interpretations of several important paintings and painting cycles, the volume examines such topics as the evolution of personified images of nationality, representations of dynastic marriages, the material culture of royal bridal trousseaus, the importance of details of costume and colour to the visual codes of baroque courts, and the roles played by artists within court societies. Ranging across Western Europe, from England to the Low Countries, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, these essays demonstrate conclusively the subtlety and complexity of visual communication within early baroque court societies, which enabled artists to convey complex political messages through paintings. The contributors to this volume display a variety of methodological approaches, demonstrating many different ways in which historical research can be fruitfully integrated with art historical analysis to generate new insights into both the visual culture and the politics of baroque Europe.

Dynasty and Piety (2012) -- El Archiduque Alberto (2015)

The youngest son of Emperor Maximilian II, and nephew of Philip II of Spain, Archduke Albert (1559-1621) was originally destined for the church. However, dynastic imperatives decided otherwise and in 1598, upon his marriage to Philip's daughter, the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, he found himself ruler of the Habsburg Netherlands, one of the most dynamic yet politically unstable territories in early-modern Europe. 

Through an investigation of Albert's reign, this book offers a new and fuller understanding of international events of the time, and the Habsburg role in them. Drawing on a wide range of archival and visual material, the resulting study of Habsburg political culture demonstrates the large degree of autonomy enjoyed by the archducal regime, which allowed Albert and his entourage to exert a decisive influence on several crucial events: preparing the ground for the Anglo-Spanish peace of 1604 by the immediate recognition of King James, clearing the way for the Twelve Years' Truce by conditionally accepting the independence of the United Provinces, reasserting Habsburg influence in the Rhineland by the armed intervention of 1614 and devising the terms of the Oñate Treaty of 1617. In doing so the book shows how they sought to initiate a realistic policy of consolidation benefiting the Spanish Monarchy and the House of Habsburg. 

Whilst previous work on the subject has tended to concentrate on either the relationship between Spain and the Netherlands or between Spain and the Empire, this book offers a far deeper and much more nuanced insight in how the House of Habsburg functioned as a dynasty during these critical years of increasing religious tensions. Based on extensive research in the archives left by the archducal regime and its diplomatic partners or rivals, it bridges the gap between the reigns of Philip II and Philip IV and puts research into the period onto a fascinating new basis.

(back cover)

The Spanish translation of this monograph has just been published. It is titled El Archiduque Alberto: Piedad y política dinástica durante las guerras de religión (Madrid: CEEH, 2015).

Scherpenheuvel (with Marc Wingens, 2002)

A bare hill, an old oak, a simple statue of the Virgin Mary, milions of pilgrims and burning candles. Already in the sixteenth century do the inhabitants of Zichem address their prayers to Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel. The Archdukes Albert and Isabella undertake their first pilgrimage in 1603. Soon they credit the successes of their policies to the Virgin. Real devotion? Political calculation? The outcome is the construction of a unique town and a magnificent domed church.

Scherpenheuvel is a synthesis of seventeenth-century European culture. An almost military stronghold against Protestantism, the temple of the new covenant between God and the Netherlands. The name of Mary is omnipresent: in the architecture of the basilica, the ornamentation, the star shaped design... A exceptional example of 'totalkunst' with a complicated emblematical message. This story of the cult of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel and the beautiful illustrations unveil a unique site full of symbolism. A revelation for every visitor.

(translation of the back cover)

 

Luc Duerloo