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Pieter Coecke van Aelst

Aelst 1502 - 1550 Brussels
Price range
500,000 – 3,000,000 USD
Pieter Coecke van Aelst was the greatest Netherlandish artist active in the second quarter of the 16th century.

Renowned for his magnificent tapestries, Coecke was also a distinguished panel painter, draughtsman, and a master designer of stained glass, woodcut, metalwork and sculpture. From the late 1520s onward, Coecke’s thriving workshop in Antwerp, one of the city’s largest, was responsible for inventing some of the most popular images associated with Antwerp Mannerism. His paintings are characterized by an abundance of ornamental details and a sense of restlessness instilled by the contorted figures, funky patterned garments, and clashing dégradé colors. The grotesque and the antique evoked in the decorative arts and architectural details are indicative of his gift as a Renaissance master designer. Like Jan Gossaert, Jan van Scorel and Jan Sanders van Hemessen a few years earlier, Coecke made a trip to Italy between 1525-26. The first-hand experience of works by Giuliano Romano, Perino del Vaga and Raphael in particular proved to be a major influence on his work. As a translator and publisher of Italian architectural treaties, Coecke played a pivotal role in disseminating ideas of Italian Renaissance design to the North. Despite dying at the early age of 48, Coecke left a permanent imprint on generations of artists in his wake, including Pieter Brueghel the Elder, his student and future son-in-law.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

862,747 $
1,291,193 $
3,166,000 $


The sales are: Christie’s London – 2 July 2024 lot 2 (680,400 GBP; a panel), Dorotheum Vienna – 9 June 2020 lot 20 (1,137,800 EUR; the center part of a triptych), and Sotheby’s New York – 29 January 2021 lot 103 (a triptych). Updated 2 July 2024.
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Notable exhibitions

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, 8 October 2014 – 11 January 2015. Curated by Elizabeth Cleland, Maryan W. Ainsworth, Stijn Alsteens and Nadine M. Orenstein.

Halbturn, Schloss Halbturn, Tapisserien der Renaissance : nach Entwürfen von Pieter Coecke van Aelst, 15 May – 26 October 1981. Curated by Rotraud Bauer.

Brussels, Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, Le Siècle de Bruegel, 1963. Curated by George Marlier.

Books on Pieter Coecke van Aelst

Elizabeth Cleland, ed., Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, exh. cat., New York, 2014.

Stijn Alsteens, “The Drawings of Pieter Coecke van Aelst”, Master Drawings, vol. 52, no. 3, Autumn 2014, pp. 275-362.

Rotraud Bauer, Tapisserien der Renaissance: nach Entwürfen von Pieter Coecke van Aelst, exh. cat., Schloss Halbturn, 1981.

August Corbet, Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Antwerp, 1950.

Georges Marlier, La Renaissance flamande: Pierre Coeck d’Alost, Brussels, 1966.

Karel van Mander, het Schilder-Boecke… den grondt der edel vry schilderconst. Haarlem, 1604.


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