Theodoor Rombouts

Theodoor Rombouts, ‘Plantin-Moretus/Prentenkabinet, Antwerpen’Theodoor Rombouts is an Antwerp painter. In the first place, he is a genre painter. It is supposed that he is a student of Abraham Janssens I (ca. 1575-1632).

Rombouts primarily makes profane works for commissioners and for the free market. Many of the commissions come from Ghent. The horizontal and monumental format of the genre pieces is striking. Rombouts also paints some religious works with landscape format, such as Christ driving the money-changers from the Temple (KMSKA, Antwerp).

During the success of the Caravaggio movement in the Southern Netherlands around 1620-1640, he is the most successful. With Caravaggio-esque conversation pieces, which are realistic and expressive, he causes a sensation. Chiaroscuro, horizontal format and a pronounced modelé that sometimes looks sculptural and that points to the influence of Abraham Janssens, are characteristics of his work. The usage of diagonals in the composition and perspectival abbreviation is clear in a work such as Card players (KMSKA, Antwerp).

After 1630, the influence of the Caravaggio movement begins to wane and the sharp contradiction between light and dark is exchanged for a tempered lighting. A good example is his The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherina (Saint James's Church, Antwerp).

In 1635, towards the end of his life, Rombouts helps out with the execution of the decorative programme for the Glorious Entrance of Cardinal-infant Ferdinand in Antwerp, over which Rubens had the lead.

2 July 1597

Theodoor Rombouts is born in Antwerp.

After 1608

Rombouts is a student under Abraham Janssens I in Antwerp.


Rombouts stays in Italy. Among other places, he visits Rome in 1620. It is possible that he meets the Caravaggist Bartolomeo Manfredi (ca. 1582-1622) in Florence. In Florence, it is possible he works for Cosimo II de'Medici.


In this period the artist is present in Antwerp.

3 February 1625

Rombouts receives the status of Free Master in the Antwerp Saint Luke Guild.


The Ghent city administration orders the monumental Allegory of the Court of Justice of "Gedele" in Ghent. It is destined for the Shipping House of Gedele. In September, Rombouts marries Anne van Thielen.


Rombouts is dean of the Saint Luke Guild.

Around 1630 the monumental painting the Card players (KMSKA, Antwerp) appears.


The Ghent Bishop Antonius Triest orders the canvas Allegory of the Five Senses (MSK, Ghent).


For the Saint James's Church in Antwerp, Rombouts paints The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherina.


Rombouts works together with other artists on the decorations of the Glorious Entrance of Cardinal-infant Ferdinand (1609-1641) (Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi) in Antwerp, after designs by Rubens.


Rombouts paints Saint Augustine washes the feet of Christ (KMSKA, Antwerp).

14 September 1637

Theodoor Rombouts dies in Antwerp.

Matthias Depoorter