Church Art and Architecture in the Low Countries before 1566

Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs


This volume presents a detailed survey of the art, furnishings, and architecture of Netherlandish churches at the time of the Reformation. (SCE&S 37)

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Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies, Vol. 37

This volume presents a detailed survey of the art, furnishings, and architecture of Netherlandish churches at the time of the Reformation. Bangs summarizes the general history of the 1566 iconoclasm and the longer, ongoing process by which the churches attained their present appearance. The pre-Reformation church architecture of the Low Countries is examined according to its regional and structural varieties and the identifiable works of known architects.



Photo Credits


A Note on Usage


Part One: Destruction

Chapter 1: Iconoclasm, Wars, and Neglect

Chapter 2: Changes in Leiden's Pieterskerek

Part Two: Inside the Churches

Chapter 3: Fonts

Chapter 4: Pulpits

Chapter 5: Choir Screens

Chapter 6: Choir Stalls

Chapter 7: Organ Cases

Chapter 8: Altars, Sculptured Altarpieces, and Tabernacles

Chapter 9: Paintings

Chapter 10: Stained Glass

Chapter 11: Textiles

Chapter 13: Sacred and Ritualistic Articles for the Mass

Part Three: Medieval and Renaissance Churches and Gothic Design

Chapter 14: Church Buildings

Chapter 15: The Significance of Netherlandish Gothic and Renaissance Design





Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs received his undergraduate and graduate art history education from the University of Leiden. He was Chief Curator at Plimoth Plantation and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Arizona State University. He is the author of Cornelis Engebrechtsz's Leiden, the official guidebook for the Pieterskerk, and has recently published a transcription of the city archives of Scituate, Massachusetts, among other works.


Bangs remains a truly careful antiquarian, this book, both as text and photographic archive, will remain a vital resource for all subsequent scholars who wish to pursue more interpretive and synthetic studies of Dutch religious art.

Sixteenth Century Journal

Bangs’s book aims to recreate what the churches in the Low Countries looked like before they were stripped of their art during the Reformation.... The book’s utility lies in its offering the only complete survey of Catholic church furnishings in Dutch churches.

—The Catholic Historical Review

Bangs’s study provides a much-needed introduction to the furnishing of Netherlandish churches—to those objects that significantly determined the character and use of religious space in the decades before the iconoclastic riots.... Its ambitious scope makes this survey a significant contribution, particularly given the lack of comparable literature: it is one of the few publications in English on sixteenth-century Netherlandish architecture and its appointments, and the only introduction to the subject in any language. The bibliography of more specialized studies, mostly in Dutch, is also quite helpful.

Historians of Netherlandish Art Newsletter

Hundreds of black-and-white photos throughout detail early church interiors and exteriors, while discussions contrast and compare church art and religious holdings. The extensive research which has resulted in such a study is evident in pages of in-depth description and history.

The Bookwatch