The Ludwig Burchard Collection

The scholarly heritage of a great Rubens scholar

The nucleus of the Rubenianum collections is made up of the specialized library and documentation on works of art built up by Ludwig Burchard (1886-1960), the greatest authority on Rubens in the 20th century. The Rubenianum also manages part of Burchard’s personal documents.


Ludwig Burchard was a German art historian who fled to England from Nazi Germany and who devoted his professional career to studying Peter Paul Rubens. The large art library and documentary collection that he built up in the course of his research was donated to the city of Antwerp after his death. It constitutes the nucleus of the Rubenianum’s collections.


Content and structure

Because of Burchard’s wide-ranging professional interests, his collection contains not only art- historical resources, but also books on related disciplines (such as history, topography and religion). The documents (photographs, notes, bibliographical references etc.) range from the art of the ancient world up to and including the 19th century. They document objects in diverse media (painting, sculpture and tapestries among others) and relate to artists from diverse European schools of art. The chief emphasis in the documentation lies on the Flemish art of the 17th century, and on Rubens in particular. Burchard’s personal archive contains different types of objects, such as notebooks, letters, deeds, and passports.

See also:

L. Nijkamp, ‘On the record: Burchard’s material legacy’, in L. Nijkamp, K. Bulckens and P. Valkeneers (eds.), Picturing Ludwig Burchard (1886-1960): a Rubens Scholar in Art-Historiographical Perspective, London 2015, pp. 91-102.


Project ‘A treasure trove of study material. Disclosure and valorisation of the Collection Ludwig Burchard’

With the support of the Flemish government, the Centrum Rubenianum, in partnership with the Rubenianum, made the Ludwig Burchard Collection accessible to researchers in 2014-2015. Read more about this project here.

See also:


Consulting these sources

The different sections (books, catalogues, early printed works, prints, documentation on works of art, personal documents) are scattered among the various collections of the Rubenianum. With the aid of an inventory, the original collection has been reassembled in a virtual environment. The inventory can be accessed either as a single document or through the tree structure in the archival database of the Rubenianum.

The different parts of the collection are freely accessible, with the exception of certain parts of the documentation relating to Rubens. See the explanation under documentation on works of art. Please also send a request through our collection catalogue.