Frans Floris (1519/20–1570): Imagining a Northern Renaissance


Frans Floris de Vriendt radically transformed Netherlandish art. His monumental mythologies introduced a new appreciation for the heroic nude to the Low Countries and his religious art challenged standards of decorum. Born into a family of sculptors and architects, Floris refashioned his art through travel, first studying with the humanist painter Lambert Lombard in Liège and then continuing on to Italy. These experiences defined the hybridizing novelty of his art, forged by juxtaposing antique and modern, Italian and northern sources. This book maps Floris’s hybrid style onto shifting conceptions of cultural, religious, and political identity on the eve of the Dutch Revolt. It explores his collaborations and rivalries, engagement with artistic theory, hierarchical workshop, and revolutionary use of print.
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EUR €153.00USD $176.00

Biographical Note

Edward H. Wouk is Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Studies at The University of Manchester. His recent publications include Marcantonio Raimondi, Raphael and the Image Multiplied (Manchester, 2016) and the co-edited volume, with Suzanne Karr Schmidt, Prints in Translation (1450-1750): Image, Materiality, Space (Routledge, 2017).

Review Quotes

“Apparently they do make artist monographs the way they used to do. This massive tome, dedicated to one of the great yet neglected Netherlandish artists of the sixteenth century, fills a massive lacuna […]. At last, Frans Floris, a truly ambitious Renaissance artist in Antwerp and a major model for Rubens in the next century, gets his due from the distinguished Senior Lecturer at Manchester, Edward Wouk. […] this long-awaited, deeply contextual, book is lavishly illustrated with meticulous color reproductions by Brill within the excellent series edited by Walter Melion. We are all beneficiaries of this important analysis.”
Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania. In: HNA Reviews, July 2018.

“When an inspiring art historian tackles the work of an inventive artist, an amazing book such as this one sees the light of day. Ed Wouk’s study of the oeuvre of Frans Floris drastically remodels the way we are to understand the confrontation of the Northern and Italian Renaissance in the sixteenth century.”
Koenraad Jonckheere, University of Ghent.

Table of contents

Map of Antwerp (1565)
List of Figures

1 Introduction. Fall and Redemption: The Divine Artist

2 A Portrait of the Artist: Floris’s Biography in Context

3 Iter Italicum: Floris’s Italian Journey in Context

4 Triumphal Entry: Floris’s Return to Antwerp (1546–49)

5 The Floris Workshop: Practice, Theory, Ritual

6 Portraits and Head Studies

7 Experiments in Religious Art: Style and Audience

8 Ardens amator artium: Floris, Niclaes Jonghelinck, and the Nature of Netherlandish Art

9 Losing Faith: Floris’s Allegory of the Trinity

10 Iconoclasm and Poesie

11 Humanæ Societati Necessaria: Frans Floris’s Vision for the Arts

12 Coda

Appendix A: Mentions of Floris in Literary Sources
Appendix B: Catalogue of Known Drawings in the Lost Album Dansaert
Appendix C: Text and Music of the chanson “Le Cruel Mars”
Appendix D: Timeline of Floris’s Chief Dated Works in Historical Context
Checklist of Paintings
Checklist of Drawings
Checklist of Prints


As the first monograph on the artist in over forty years, this book will be of interest to a wide range of readers, including art historians, cultural historians, and scholars from a variety of disciplines interested in artistic and material culture as well as cultural mobility, hybridity, and the relationship of art to politics and religion. Its engaging subject and narrative approach also make it accessible to BA and MA students in these fields as well as audiences interested in the history of the Low Countries/Netherlands/Belgium and Italy.


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