Author(s) Loyseleur de Villiers, Pieter
Vredeman de Vries, Jan
Title La ioyevse & magnifique entrée de Monseigneur Francoys...
Imprint Antwerp, C. Plantin
Localisation Paris, Binha, 4 Res 820
Subject Entry


     The present book was published on the occasion of the Joyous Entry of François duc d'Anjou, the brother of the king of France, into Antwerp on February 19, 1582. During the years 1557 until 1585, the city of Antwerp was dominated by Calvinist power and it was the temporary capital of the reunited Netherlands. The Estates General of the Netherlands intended to recognize the duc d'Anjou as the new Duke of Brabant, in opposition to the Spanish King Philip II.
On April 17, 1582, Christophe Plantin's printing house received the privilege to publish the book which contained a description of the duke's trip through Zeeland, to Antwerp, as well as the triumphal entry itself. The texts were written by Pieter Loyseleur de Villiers, William of Orange's pastor. Twenty-one engravings representing the triumphal arches and the theatres set up along the duke's route through Antwerp illustrate the book. That same year, Plantin also published an edition in Dutch. The copy that the duc d'Anjou had in his library is presently in the Kunstbibliothek of the Staatlichen Museen in Berlin. Again in 1582 copies entirely made up of the description of the Joyous Entry and without illustrations were published by Plantin and Henricius in Antwerp, and by Claude Garnier in Paris. In his Leone Belgico of 1588 Michael Eyzinger included three scenes of the duc d'Anjou's entry into Antwerp.
Plantin borrowed the title page from the second edition of Lodovico Guicciardini's Description de touts les Pais-Bas which came out in 1581. After two pages of introduction, pages 1 to 10 relate the duc d'Anjou's trip from Dover to Flushing and Middleburg, then on the Scheldt up to Antwerp. Pages 11 to 36 recount in great detail the events of the triumphal entry; then comes the description of the festivities given during the oath made by the new Duke of Brabant to the members of the council of the city of Antwerp and of the reciprocal oath of recognition made by these members to the duke. The privilege granted to publish the book by the publisher Plantin is on page 47.
The Antwerp magistrature entrusted Hans Vredeman de Vries and the painter Pieter Leys to carry out the program of the Joyous Entry. According to the archives preserved by the city of Antwerp, it seems that Vredeman de Vries was instead the author of the project and that Leys took charge of producing the different triumphal arches and theatres. It is possible that the engraver Abraham de Bruyne created the book's illustrations.
A certain number of triumphal doors and theatres were represented on a series of paintings decorating the interior of the town hall. All of these paintings were removed by the Spaniards, when they recaptured Antwerp in 1585. Nonetheless two of them were preserved, the first representing the arrival of the duc d'Anjou at the arch of triumph erected at the old Saint Jean gate, the second showing the duke arriving at the entrance of the Saint Michel abbey. But the scenes represented are not copies of the book's engravings.
Hans Vredeman de Vries drew the architectural compositions for figures II, VI, VII, X, XII, XIIII, XVI and XVIII. P. Fuhring and J. Luijten added figures IX and XVII. The scenes are all heavy with political meaning, for they were meant both to convey the importance of the triumphant entry of the duc d'Anjou and to manifest the prosperity of the city and its port during the war.
To a certain extent, one can compare the different scenes and their decorations with the woodcuts Pieter Coecke made for the book De Triomphe van Antwerpen (Le triomphe d’Anvers...) published in Antwerp on the occasion of the triumphal entry of the emperor Charles V and crown prince and future king Philip II into Antwerp in 1549. Nevertheless it is necessary to note that in the 1582 book various paintings are much simpler in their composition and less ornate. It is true that the time allowed to make the triumphal arches and the theatres on the occasion of the duc d'Anjou's entry was very brief and that the municipal administration only had at its disposal a reduced budget owing to the fortifications then under way to fend off the imminent attack of Alexander Farnese against the city.
The first engraving represents a view in perspective of the arrival of the duc d'Anjou by boat south of the citadel, partly dismantled. The different city officials, the municipality, the colonels, captains and deans, the troops of the States of Brabant, the baron de Mérode etc. are in ranks on the banks of the Scheldt close to the citadel and form an honor guard up to the Emperor Gate. After this general view of the entry, the twenty engravings of the book show us the different theatres and triumphal arches, as well as a few triumphal floats constructed for this Joyful Entry. The first theatre was erected outside of the city walls, at the level of the citadel bastion oriented towards the interior of the country (plate II). The prince of Orange and the City Council are waiting for the duke at this place. The representation that Jan Vredeman de Vries made of this event can be compared to a tableau, in which real characters and their décor form a living ensemble. On the corner of Gasthuisstraat, close to the Saint George church, the theatre of the literary brotherhood "Le Soussi" was built. This theatre was embellished with banderoles, plaques, obelisks, interlaces and stucco decorations, statues of busts etc (plate VI). Level with the street called Huidevettersstraat, the theatre of the literary brotherhood "Les Peintres ou Violiers", is also embellished with interlaces, cartouches and architectural statues of busts (plate VII). The literary brotherhood called "Branche d'Olivier" had put up its theatre very close to the street called Klarestraat. The "pucelle d'Anvers" was represented in the middle of the scene (plate IX). The theatre where the oaths were taken was situated just in front of the town hall, on the Grand Place (plate XII). The ensemble was decorated with nymphs and angels placed around a throne. The Doric order chosen for all the architectural decorations symbolized moral strength, represented by an eagle, a cock, a bear and a lion. The Ionic order was chosen to decorate the theatre situated next to the door giving access to the Saint Michel abbey (the location of the duke's residence, in the text called "Palais") (plate XVII).
The other projects that Jan Vredeman de Vries developed are triumphal arches (plates X, XIII, XVI and XVII). The entrance at the end of the street leading to the Saint Michel abbey was preceded by a row of 70 Ionic columns on both sides of the street, connected by a very long architrave (plate XVII). One finds exactly the same construction in the book on the triumphal entry published by Pieter Coecke in 1550.
To appreciate Jan Vredeman de Vries' work, it is important to find a global vision in this book, the way the author links his ornaments and decorations with compositions of theatres and triumphal entrances, and with the whole creation following a very rigid preestablished program. In addition, the central prespective method, that Vredeman de Vries applies in his theatre representations, allowed him to introduce real personages in a few scenes, giving the effect of tableaux. Thus the artist obtains a mixture of the imaginary and the real.

Piet Lombaerde (Hoger Instituut voor Architectuurwetenschappen Henry van de Velde,
Association Université Anvers) – 2008

Another copy to be consulted on British Library site

Critical bibliography

P. Fuhring & G. Luijten, Hollstein’s Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450-1700, Vredeman de Vries 1572-1630, 48, 2, Rotterdam, Sound & Vision Interactive, 1997, pp. 109-121.

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 ti 1630, Alphen aan den Rijn, Canaletto, 1994, 1, p. 170.

J. Landwehr, Splendid Ceremonies State Entries and Royal Funerals in the Low Countries 1515-1791. A Bibliography, Nieuwkoop/Leiden, De Graaf/Sijthoff, 1971, pp. 80-81.

H. Mielke, Hans Vredeman de Vries. Verzeichnis der Stichwerke und Beschreibung seines Stils sowie Beiträge zum Werk Gerard Groennings, PhD Dissertation, Freie Universität, Berlin, 1967, p. 185.

H. M. C. Purkis, La magnifique Entrée de François d’Anjou en sa ville d’Anvers, Anvers, Christofle Plantin, MDLXXXII, A Facsimile with an Introduction, Amsterdam/New York, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd/Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1973.

M. Rooses, Christophe Plantin, imprimeur anversois, Antwerp, Maes, 1882.

M. Sabbe, Christophe Plantin, Turnhout, Brepols, 1920.

F. J. van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Antwerpsche Schilderschool, Antwerp, Buschmann, 1883, pp. 240-241.

C. van de Velde, "Hans Vredeman de Vries en de Blijde Intreden te Antwerpen", H. Borggrefe, V. Lupkes, P. Huvenne & B. Van Beneden (ed.), Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Renaissance im Norden, Munich, Hirmer, 2002, pp. 81-88.

I. von Roeder-Baumbach & H. G. Evers, Versieringen bij Blijde Inkomsten, Antwerp, De Sikkel, 1943, op. 16, 117-175.