Pieter Coecke van Aelst

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Not to be confused with Pieter van Aelst the Elder.
Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Self-Portrait
Pieter van Aelst, Worshiping Kings, Staatliche Antikensammlungen, 1540

Pieter Coecke van Aelst (August 14, 1502 – December 6, 1550) was a Flemish painter appointed court painter to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1534.

St. Jerome is depicted in his study.[1] The Walters Art Museum.

The son of Pieter van Aelst the elder, a tapestry weaver. He studied under Bernaert van Orley and later lived in Italy before entering the Antwerp Guild of painters in 1527. In 1533, he travelled to Constantinople for one year in a failed attempt to establish business connections for his tapestry works.[2] Van Aelst established a studio in Brussels in 1544, where he created paintings and produced ontwerpen (small-scale drawings)[3] and full-scale cartoons for tapestries.[4] His students include Gillis van Coninxloo, Willem Key, Hans Vredeman de Vries, Michiel Coxcie, and possibly Pieter Brueghel the Elder, who would eventually marry van Aelst's daughter, Mayken. His second wife, Mayken Verhulst, was an artist as well, and, according to Carel van Mander, the first teacher of her grandchildren, Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder. Van Aelst's studio is also well known for its engraved works.

In particular, van Aelst is noted for his translations of Vitruvius and of Sebastiano Serlio's architectural treatise, Architettura (1539), which is credited with having played a crucial role in spreading Renaissance ideas to the Low Countries and hastening the transition from the late Gothic style prevalent in the area at the time. He was in charge of the spectacular decorations for the 1549 Royal entry into Antwerp of Philip II of Spain, "the most famous entry of the century", according to Roy Strong.

Selected works[5][edit]

  • Christ and His Disciples on Their Way to Emmaus, Oil on panel, 68 x 87 cm, Private collection [1]
  • Descent from the Cross, c. 1535, Oil on panel, 119 x 170 cm, Amstelkring Museum, Amsterdam [2]
  • Holy Trinity, Oil on panel, 98 x 84 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid [3]
  • Crucifixion, tapestry, Pinacoteca Comunale, Forlì[4]
  • Triptych, 1530s, Oil on panel, 105 x 68 cm (central), 105 x 28 cm (each wing), Private collection [5]
  • Triptych: Adoration of the Magi, Oil on panel, 89 x 57 cm (central), 89 x 25 cm (each wing), Private collection [6]
  • Triptych: Descent from the Cross, 1540–1550, Oil on panel, 262 x 172 cm (central), 274 x 84 cm (each wing), Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon [7]
  • Triptych of Saint James the Lesser and Saint Philip, Museu de Arte Sacra do Funchal
  • The last Holy Communion, Kroměříž Archbishop's Palace picture gallery, Kroměříž [6]


  1. ^ "Saint Jerome in His Study". The Walters Art Museum. 
  2. ^ A. Wunder. "Western Travelers, Eastern Antiquities, and the Image of the Turk in Early Modern Europe" Journal of Early Modern History, 7 (2003).
  3. ^ Edith A. Standen, "Some Sixteenth-Century Flemish Tapestries Related to Raphael's Workshop" Metropolitan Museum Journal (1971).
  4. ^ R. Bauer, ed. Tapisserien der Renaissance: Nach Entwürfen von Pieter Coecke van Aelst, exhibition catalogue, Schloss Halbturn, 1981; I. Buchanan. "Designers, Weavers and Entrepreneurs: Sixteenth-Century Flemish Tapestries in the Patrimonio Nacional" The Burlington Magazine, (1992).
  5. ^ Web Gallery of Art: Pieter van Aelst
  6. ^ Picture gallery Kroměříž, Catalogue of the collection of Archbishops' Castle in Kroměříž paintings, 1998, Editor: Milan Togner, 520 pages, ISBN 80-238-2362-0 (Czech)

External links[edit]

Pieter Coecke on line [8]