Part of a series about urban history and culture (Bruaene of Ghent University is one of the series’ editors), this new anthology (based on a 2012 conference) offers nineteen impressive articles on a wide variety of subjects. However, across the individual contributions, some issues of coherence quickly emerge – about whether the concept of “culture,” often fluid in any case, can sufficiently encompass all these approaches and topics in any meaningful way. Segments of the volume cluster articles in groups of two or three, addressing more closely related topics. Yet almost all of these studies focus on the sixteenth century, and most turn attention perforce to the great contemporary Netherlandish metropolis, Antwerp. Indeed, the Low Countries themselves then became more self-conscious as a larger polity (p. x), so the setting remains consistent. The contributors, like the editors, hail from both sides of the Atlantic and range from familiar, distinguished eminences to relative newcomers.
Jelle De Rock opens the volume on a strong note in the section “Space and Time” by discussing chorography, the portrait of the city in maps, profile views, and eventual perpectival picturings in prints. While little attention about the urban fabric of buildings and places appears in the volume, the crucial threads of printing and printmaking do reappear in numerous articles. Renaud Adam’s study, “Living and Printing in Antwerp in the Late Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries,” offers a valuable analysis of printers, their guild memberships, and their wider family networks. In a section on “Guilds and Artistic Identities,” Krista De Jonge, who has contributed so much to our knowledge of architecture of the period, underscores anew how one publication, Lodovico Guicciardini’s 1567 discussion of the Paesi Bassi, established a basic new image of the Netherlandish artist as an intellectual master of the liberal arts, and also pointed to their widespread influence across northern Europe.
Focused on Nicolas Hogenberg’s etching, Death of Margaret of Austria (1531), Olenka Horbatsch considers a relationship between “City and Court,” in the book’s most cohesive segment. It is complemented by Elisabeth Neumann’s discussion of the 1520 Antwerp entry (blijde inkomst) of Charles V, described by Peter Gillis and published in the city by Michael Hillen. Her focus held much wider significance: a moment when the allegory of Europe as an embattled continent, to be defended by the new emperor, was introduced into public display. She traces sources for this concept to Mirror of Princes literature, influenced by Erasmus. Other Joyous Entries also appear in this City/Court segment. Stijn Bussels and Bram Van Oostveldt follow such ceremonies from 1549 through to the Rubens entry of 1635, tracing appearances of the City Maiden of Antwerp; their analysis effectively uses both contemporary performance and gender theory. They uncover an evolving political agenda in the tableaux and allegories, which build upon one another over time but also adjust to the rapidly shifting political circumstances presented to each succeeding ruler. In a more expressly political vein, Violet Soen considers the Dutch Revolt more closely from the viewpoint, not of the city, but of the Governors-General (1566-86), with Antwerp the fulcrum, as usual. This section on City/Court dialogue is one of the most original contributions in the volume.
Rhetoricians (rederijkers) staged those urban ceremonies, and other aspects of their urban activities appear across this volume. In a segment about “Literary Practices: License and its Limits,” co-editor Anne-Laure Van Bruaene discusses their drama (with very useful references for us non-specialists) in relation to censorship. Satire was an important element of their poetry int sot as well as their plays, and beyond some internal self-restraint, wider control over the chambers of rhetoric was exercised with only limited success by central authorities. After the Reformation began (especially in the Ghent 1539 landjuweel competition), repression grew, but short of an outright ban, and in 1561 Antwerp staged its own crucial competition. In the segment “Space and Time,” Samuel Mareel departs for Bruges, to discuss “place, space, and literary performance” there during the mid- sixteenth century. Turning away from public political ceremonies, he utilizes theories of place/space as well as the lack of a permanent setting of Bruges’ chambers. Private activities of the Bruges chambers usually took place in adopted convent locales. There the overlap with religion was meaningful, reminding us that many of their refreinen were spiritual, int vroede and that they also put on morality plays. But their more public performances could occur in inns or anywhere around the city.
More concretely, as one would expect in a volume edited by Matt Kavaler, sculpture plays an important role in discussion. Kavaler’s own essay, “Mapping Time. The Netherlandish Carved Altarpiece in the Early Sixteenth Century,” appears second, in the “Space and Time” section. It examines the survival of a fifteenth-century form in the new century but with an analytical turn to the dialectic between “materiality and transcendence” as well as the issues of typology and “chronicity” and sacred history (using Boethius as an inspiration), as posed by the separate scenes gathered with ornament of baldachins and tracery (suggestive of celestial order) into the larger carved corpus. In many ways, this fundamental essay (which deserves wider distribution) considers the very nature of how multi-figural narrative sculpture with detailed settings functions religiously on altarpieces for a late-medieval viewer. In the section on “Guilds and Artistic Identity,” Angela Glover focuses on a 1544 Leuven guild dispute about jurisdiction over choir stalls and their relation to traditional institutions for figural carvers (masons’ guild) and joiners, all occurring at a moment of emerging free-standing carvings.
An often-neglected aspect of sixteenth-century culture was the cultural use of mythology, and two very useful articles respond. Tianna Uchacz focuses on the adulterous triangle of Mars, Venus, and Vulcan. She attends to erotic content and comic elements that convey an element of moral ambiguity, especially in their Ill-Matched Pair overtones, even in learned works by Heemskerck as well as Frans Floris. Giancarlo Fiorenza tackles the “poetics” of Floris in relation to Lucas de Heere’s assessment of poetry and rhetoric as well as contemporary visual – and verbal – imagery of ideal beauty.
Two more general contributions (also worthy of wider distribution) that add further significance, extending beyond Antwerp, occupy their own segment. In “Continuities or Discontinuities?” Herman Roodenburg, a cultural historian who has taught us so much, explores affective piety, usually associated with late-medieval spirituality, to this period. He considers the rhetoric of pathopoeia for Passion narratives in word and image, with examples from Memling to Rembrandt (and Hemessen in between). Koenraad Jonckheere reflects self-consciously on “the historical explanation of pictures,” something that, as here, has marked his productive career concerning Antwerp and the sixteenth century. Like Ernst Gombrich, he starts with viewer expectations and the associated concept of decorum (or its violation, especially via omissions), especially considering the connotations of stone images in the era of Iconoclasm. He then applies his method, addressing pointed insights about a rhetoric of ambiguity into such potentially charged religious markers within paintings by Coxcie, de Vos, and even Bruegel.
The remaining essays, while valuable, remain outliers to Antwerp’s visual culture. Marisa Bass considers a Jan Mostaert painting, Eve and Her Four Children (Williamstown), in relation to issues of early humanity and even Batavian Dutch history. Dick De Boer’s “Fun, Greed, and Popular Culture” considers lotteries and their rhymes, chiefly in Holland. Konrad Ottenheym, another great architectural historian, discusses Protestant basilicas by Netherlandish architects abroad, in Scandinavia and Latvia. Nina Lamal and Hans Cools introduce an unfamiliar history: by Neapolitan Francesco Lanario about the Dutch Revolt up to 1609.
In sum, every contribution to this collection repays study, and most of them address some cultural issues, sometimes verbal more than visual, about sixteenth-century Antwerp. If the tight coherence of larger methods or materials or questions remains elusive, this is still a stimulating and rewarding resource for students of the sixteenth-century Netherlands.
University of Pennsylvania
 For a contemporary German development, Jasper van Putten, Networked Nation. Mapping German Cities in Sebastian Münster’s ‘Cosmographia,’ (Leiden: Brill, 2018).
 In addition to the important contribution by Margit Thøfner, A Common Art: Urban Ceremonial in Antwerp and Brussels during and after the Dutch Revolt (Zwolle: Waanders, 2007), cited with other references, the interested readers should consult Emily Peters, “Printing Ritual: The Performance of Community in Christopher Plantin’s La Joyeuse et Magnifique Entrée . . . ,” Renaissance Quarterly, 61 (2008), 370-413; also Tamar Cholcman, Art on Paper: Ephemeral Art in the Low Countries (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014) on the entries of 1582 and 1599, respectively.
 Now also see Edward Wouk, Frans Floris (1519/20-1570): Imagining a Northern Renaissance (Leiden: Brill, 2018).
 Other understudied images of a related theme from Antwerp: Rotterdam’s Land-scape with Adam and Eve and the Dead Abel by Cornelis van Dalem and a similar painting of the First Couple in the Stanford Museum. Bass emphasizes the absence of Adam in the Mostaert panel.