Author(s) Grapheus (De Schrijvers), Cornelius (Cornelis)
Coecke van Aelst, Pieter
Title Le triumphe d’Anvers, faict en la susception du Prince Philips... Anno 1549...
Imprint Antwerp, G. Coopens van Diest, 1550
Localisation Paris, Binha, 4 Res 1404
Subject Entry


     At the end of the 1540s, Charles V made a trip to the Northern Provinces, accompanied by his son Philip. The "Joyous Entries" into the cities of Flanders and Brabant served almost as enthronements; from the viewpoint of a succession, perhaps not far off, the Emperor was anxious to have the Spanish Infante recognized as the future sovereign of the Seventeen Provinces through organizing sumptuous festivities. At the same time, these prestigious events were an echo of those which celebrated Henri II's accession in France with well-known splendour. Thus, at almost the same time in 1549, the king of France made his entry into Paris and Philip of Spain into Ghent and Antwerp. Only five engravings remain from the entry into Ghent, at the University Library of Ghent; the entry into Antwerp however is well known thanks to superb registers published as early as 1550 in Latin (Spectaculorum susceptione Philippi Hisp. Prin. Divi Caroli V. Caes. F. An. MDXLIX...), in Dutch (De seer wonderlijcke schoone triumphelijcke Incompst) and in French.
The author of these works is a secretary of the city, Cornelis de Schrijvers, also known as Grapheus. Very honestly, he takes care to warn the reader that he will not see in the book what really happened : "Premièrement, que a l’heure de lentree du Prince, commencea moult fort a plouvoir sans cesser, de sorte de a son entrée (au moyen d’icelle grosse & continuelle pluye) ne a pas bien este possible veoir au vif moult de choses, ny ne ont este assez amplement demonstrees selon l’intention que l’on avoit entreprins. Secondement, que sa venue a este plus briefve que lon esperoit estre, au moien de laquelle celerite, a eu moult de chose de grandt consequence non du tout accomplie, lesquelles touteffois sont ici de nous applicquees, comme sy touttes avoient este achevees". Thus Grapheus propose an ideal restitution of the ceremony rather than a faithful report. In addition, he specifies that the representations of the arches and the "échafauds" are due to "Pierre de Allos painctre de la Majesté Impériale", otherwise known as Pieter Coecke d'Alost, well known to historians of architecture for having written the first treatise in Dutch, Die Inventie der colommen, in 1539 and done the Dutch, German and French translations of Sebastiano Serlio; painter and architect, he was also a publisher. According to the colophon, the book was printed "pour Pierre Coeck d'Allost, libraire juré…par Gillis van Diest".
The register takes on a particular importance. Certainly, Pieter Coecke did not create all of the arches that the prince saw (or should have seen) during his entry. We know in particular that the arch of the Genoise was built by an Italian architect. But he is the one who engraved them and reduced them to the same scale. And his drawings, whether they are faithful copies or personal restitutions, testify clearly to a new architectural culture in the Provinces of the North. In fact Serlio inspired many of his compositions. The "théâtre" near the "césarienne" entrance (f. D 3), as well as the entry to the "Galerie des Florentins" (f. H 4) greatly resemble the arch of Verona as the Terzo libro represents it. One can find there the very unusual movement of the entablature protrusions, occasional on the sides and continuous above the central opening crowned with a pediment, like the niches between the columns of the lateral parts. The placing of the "trygliph-consoles" above the columns of the scaffold of the Pont du Lait (f. K 2) clearly evoke a Doric door in the Quarto libro. The arch mounted in the Hoochstraat (f. L 4) goes back to the model of the arch of Pola: the fluted Corinthian columns are paired and placed on square stylobates; the entablature protrudes above the capitals. Lastly, more spectacular, the arch "de la nation d'Espagne", in folios E 2v° and E 3, is a small temple with a centered plan decorated with four corner obelisks erected on a Doric platform, an obvious variation on the model of folio 58 of the Quarto libro. It was enough to raise the base of the rusticated ground storey to make an arch allowing one to pass through, and to transform the engaged columns of the Serlian monument into free-standing columns in order to give a false air of Bramantesque tempietto to the upper part. If in some cases a few stylistic details betray a Spanish influence (in particular the presence of friezes under the cornice of the pedestals, perhaps inspired by Sagredo's treatise), if the spirit of the decoration, strongly marked by the taste for grotesques and leatherwork in the Fontainebleau style, is very northern, the invention is undeniably Serlian, and the register of the entry no doubt contributed greatly to the diffusion of modern forms in northern Europe.

Yves Pauwels (Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2009

Critical bibliography

A. Corbet, Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Antwerp, De Stikkel, coll. Maederlandtbibliotheek 21, 1950.

K. De Jonge, "Le livret de l’Entrée du prince Philippe à Anvers par Cornelis Grapheus et Pieter Coecke, à Anvers en 1550", S. Deswarte-Rosa (ed.), Sebastiano Serlio à Lyon. Architecture et imprimerie, Lyon, Mémoire active, 2004, pp. 482-483.

W. Eisler, "Celestial Harmonies ans Hapsburg Rule : Levels of Meaning in a Triumphal Arch for Philip II in Antwerp, 1549", B. Wisch & S. Scott Munshower (ed.), "All the World’s a stage...", Art and Pageantry in the Renaissance and Baroque. I, Triumphal Celebrations and the Rituals of Statecraft, Papers in Art History from Pennsylvania State University, 6, University Park, Pennsylvania State University, 1990, pp. 332-356.

W. Kuyper, The Triumphant Entry of Renaissance Architecture into the Netherlands. The Joyeuse Entrée of Philip of Spain into Antwerp in 1549, Renaissance and Manierism Architecture in the Low Countries from 1530 to 1630, Alphen aan den Rijn, Canaletto, 1994.

J. Landwehr, Splendid Ceremonies State Entries and Royal Funerals in the Low Countries 1515-1791. A Bibliography, Nieuwkoop/Leiden, de Graaf/Sijthoff, 1971.

Y. Pauwels, "Propagande architecturale et rhétorique du Sublime : Serlio et les Joyeuses Entrées de 1549", Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 137, May-June 2001, pp. 221-236.

Y. Pauwels, "Fête, propagande et image imprimée : les “Joyeuses entrées” de Gand et d’Anvers (1559)", R. Crescenzo (ed.), Espaces de l’image, Nancy, Université de Nancy II, 2002, pp. 167-188.

F. Prims, "Het eigen werk van Cornelis Grapheus (1482-1558)", Antwerpiensa. Losse Bijdragen tot de Antwepsche Geschiedenis, Antwerp, De Vlijt, 1938, pp. 172-190.

E. J. Roobaert, "De Seer Wondelycke Schoone Triumphelycke Incompst van den Hooghmogenden Prince Philips… in de Stadt Antwerpen, Anno 1549", Bulletin van de Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, 9, 1960, 1-2, pp. 37-74.

S. Schele, "Pieter Coecke and Cornelis Bos", Oud Holland, 77, 1962, pp. 235-240.

S. Schele, Cornelis Bos. A Study of the Origins of the Netherland Grotesque, Stockholm, Almquvist & Wiksell, 1965.