Music and Lived Religion in the Collegiate Church of Our Lady in Antwerp (1370 - 1566). A Multidisciplinary Study in a European context

September 02, 2021 - September 04, 2021

Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR)
59 rue Néricault Destouches
37000 Tours


The study of pre-Tridentine lived religion and musical experience in the Collegiate Church of Our Lady in Antwerp faces many difficulties. Despite its being rich in variety, the source material is often incomplete. Comparative research based on similar cases in the Low Countries and surrounding regions fills many of these gaps and opens new perspectives; an undeniable need for contextualisation in a broader geographic setting therefor manifests itself. Furthermore, as each individual research discipline quickly reaches the methodological and content-related limits it imposes, a multidisciplinary approach proves essential for the study of lived religion in all its facets. Inspite of this, the current study of ‘religion in practice’ is still too often confined to separate research disciplines. These obstacles have led to the acceptance of old hypotheses as truth over the years. When these supposed truths were used as a basis for new theories, this in turn resulted in a biased conceptualisation of socio-religious ideas and processes.

The objective of this workshop is to detect and rectify such dated assumptions. This will be realized principally via the case study of the Antwerp church of Our Lady, as the sensory experience at and the functioning of the collegiate church were exemplary for chapter and parish churches in urbanized areas of the Burgundian-Habsburg Netherlands and neighbouring regions. Crucial to obtaining its goal is the presence and active participation of researchers from different disciplines: musicology, art history, church history, theology, liturgy, social history, ... Each session will be introduced by one of the below-mentioned experts, who will also act as moderator for the subsequent discussion. In addition, there will be ample opportunity to talk about and try to overcome the challenges with which the organizers or participants are being confronted in their own research. The chosen format, which encourages discussion, will undoubtedly provide an opportunity to forge qualitative and long-term interdisciplinary exchanges and collaborations.




Music and Lived Religion in the Collegiate Church of Our Lady in Antwerp (1370 - 1566). A Multidisciplinary Study in a European context

Key words

Music History, Art History, Liturgy, Collegiate Church, Parish Church, Lived Religion, Late Medieval Antwerp



Confirmed speakers


Thursday 02nd september 2021 

  • 09:45 Welcome coffee & registration
  • 10:30 Introduction Prof. Philippe Vendrix, Prof.Eugeen Schreurs & Wendy Wauters

Session 1: Urban context (11:00-12:30)

Respondents: Dr Esperanza Rodriguez Garcia and Prof. Daniel Saulnier
  • Prof. Paul Trio - The importance of ‘ersatz’ collegiate churches in the debate on musical culture in collegiate churches relating to the Low countries (Late Middle Ages - Early Modern Times)
  • Discussion Round
  • 12:30 Lunch - Restaurant l’Accalmie

Session 2: Liturgy and devotion (14:00-15:30)

Respondents: Prof. Daniel Saulnier and Prof. Paul Trio
  • Prof. Andrew Kirkman - A Devotional Jewel-Box: Nicolas Rembert’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in the Collegiate Church of St Omer
  • Dr Charles Caspers - Seeing through a glass darkly. How a minuscule relic stirred the minds of the faithful
  • Discussion Round
  • 15:30 Coffee break

Session 3 : Documentary value of sourceslaw (16:00-18:00)

Respondents: Prof. Paul Vandenbroeck and Wendy Wauters
  • Prof. Karel Moens - Iconography and iconology as a tool for the study of music in churches in the 15th and 16th centuries
  • Wendy Wauters - The Enclosed Altar
  • Discussion Round
  • 19:30 Wine & cheese cocktail (CESR)

Friday 03rd september 2021 

  • 09:00 Welcome coffee

Session 4 : Sensory experience (I) (09:30-10:45)

Respondents: Dr Concetta Pennuto and Prof. Paul Vandenbroeck
  • Wendy Wauters - The stirring of the religious space. The impact of sound and smell on the Antwerp churchgoers
  • Discussion Round
  • 10:45 Coffee break

Session 5 : Sensory experience (II) (11:00-12:30)

Respondents: Prof. Karel Moens, Dr Concetta Pennuto and Wendy Wauters
  • Prof. Paul Vandenbroeck - On Memling, Christ Surrounded by Singing and Music-making Angels
  • Discussion Round
  • 12:30 Lunch - Restaurant Le Vieux Murier

Session 6 : Auditory space & church interior  (14:00 -15:30)

Respondents: Dr Vasco Zara and Prof. Philippe Canguilhem
  • Prof. Eugeen Schreurs - Places of music-making in the collegiate church of Our Lady in Antwerp
  • Discussion Round
  • 15:30 Coffee break

Session 7 : The performers & material culture (16:00-18:00)

Respondents: Dr Camilla Cavicchi, Prof. Eugeen Schreurs and Prof. Philippe Vendrix
  • Dr Hendrik Callewier - Status and careers of singers in 15th century Flanders
  • Prof. Philippe Canguilhem - “Usual musicke”. The teaching and practice of counterpoint in European churches (15th and 16th centuries)
  • Prof. Eugeen Schreurs - A word on the performers
  • Discussion Round
  • 18:30 Guided visit of the city centre - departure from the entrance of the CESR -> End of the visit at the restaurant
  • 20:00 Dinner - Restaurant l’Embellie

Saturday 04th september 2021 

  • 09:00 Welcome coffee

Session 8 : In search of a new methodology (09:30-11:30)

Respondents: Prof. Eugeen Schreurs and Wendy Wauters
  • Prof. Gunnar Almevik - Historical Laboratory
  • Discussion Round
  • Prof. Philippe Vendrix - Concluding remarks
  • 12:00 Lunch - Restaurant Les Gens Heureux (15 minutes walk from the train station)




Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR) :
59, rue Néricault Destouches - 37000 TOURS - FR

The conference venue is unique. Located right next to the basilica of St Martin in the old city centre of Tours, the Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance) is a teaching and research institution which welcomes students and researchers seeking initial or supplementary instruction in all aspects of the Renaissance. The Centre was initially constituted in 1956 on the basis of a library and a documentary archive, supplemented by a collection of photographs and databases. It is now a venue for multi-disciplinary instruction, which, in association with the various Faculties of the University, has responsibility for teaching and research in History, History of Art, Literature, Languages, Musicology, and Philosophy. It currently leads a large research programme dedicated to the cultural regional heritage (Intelligence des Patrimoines). As a research centre it brings together fifty or so researchers committed to the investigation of the "civilization of the Renaissance" from Petrarch to Descartes. Participants will be welcomed in this exceptional surrounding blending Middle Age and Renaissance cultures and will have the opportunity to discover French cuisine and wines.

Partners of the event