Pieter van Aelst: life and works

Pieter Coecke van Aelst or Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder (Aalst, 14 August 1502 – Brussels, 6 December 1550) was a Flemish painter, sculptor, architect, author and designer of woodcuts, goldsmith’s work, stained glass and tapestries. His principal subjects were Christian religious themes. He worked in Antwerp and Brussels and was appointed court painter to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

Coecke van Aelst was a polyglot. He published translations into Flemish (Dutch), French and German of Ancient Roman and advanced Italian architectural treatises. These publications played a pivotal role in the dissemination of Renaissance ideas in Northern Europe. They contributed to the transition in Northern Europe from the late Gothic style after that prevalent towards a modern ‘antique-oriented’ architecture.

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