"Portraits of the Dukes and Duchesses of Brabant"

The twenty-six "small painted portraits of the Dukes and Duchesses of Brabant" displayed in the sitting room in the front part of Ximenez's house must have been copies of the portraits made by the Antwerp painter and antiquarian Antonio de Succa for the Staetencaemer (state room) of the Antwerp town hall shortly before 1600. In the 1615 inventory of the Antwerp Stadhuis there is mention of thirty-one counterfeits of rulers ("eenendertich stucken schilderye wesende de Contrefeytsels van de Hertogen ende Hertoginnen van Brabant"). The portrait series was highly successful: In fact, in 1608 and 1612 De Succa complained before the Antwerp magistrate that the town hall portraits had been copied without his consent; one of these copied sets obviously hung in Ximenez's house.

Similarly popular among members of the learned elite in Antwerp was the new edition of Adrianus Barlandus's Chronicle of the Dukes of Brabant (Ducum Brabantiae chronica), published by Jan Moretus I in 1600. Ximenez's library, too, included a copy of that work. For the 1600 edition, Barlandus's text was revised and augmented by the Antwerp Jesuit Andreas Schott and, most importantly, illustrated with thirty-eight engravings: a coat of arms, a map of Brabant as well as thirty-six portraits of the dukes of Brabant from Pippin to Albert and Isabella. All illustrations were supplied by the publisher and engraver Jan Baptist Vrients (1552-1612) who, in his preface of the Chronicle dedicated to Albert and Isabella, also acknowledges the contribution of Antonio de Succa, describing him as "highly knowledgeable in the art of painting and Belgian antiquity."

The portrait series and the books on the history of Flanders and Brabant document Ximenenz's interest in the study of local history and archaeology and thus his engagement in Antwerp's antiquarian culture that involved philological, biographical, historical, and archaeological research.

Christine Göttler, University of Bern


Duerloo, Luc, and Werner Thomas. Albert & Isabelle, 1598-1621. Exh. cat., Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire. Turnhout: Brepols, 1998. 29-30, cat. 15.

Imhof, Dirk, ed. The Illustration of Books Published by the Moretuses. Exh. cat., Plantin-Moretus Museum of Antwerp. Antwerp: Plantin-Moretus Museum, 1996. 104-105, cat. 16.

Lohse Belkin, Kristin. The Costume Book. Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard 24. Brussels: Arcade, 1980.

Jan Collaert after Otto van Veen, Albert and Isabella Clara Eugenia, from Ducum Brabantiae Chronica, Antwerp: Officina Plantiniana, 1600. 179. Image: © Museum Plantin-Moretus.