Pierre Joseph Witdoeck Biography

Pierre Joseph Witdoeck




Belgian painter and printmaker Pierre-Joseph Witdoeck, also known as Petrus Josephus Witdoeck, was born on January 4, 1803, in Antwerp, Belgium, the son of painter and architect Franciscus Donatus Witdoeck who was a professor at the Royal Academy, Antwerp. Other family members, including Jean and Jerome Witdoeck, were pupils of Rubens. His formal training began with his father, and then with painters Ferdinand de Braekeleer and Mathieu-Ignace Van Bree. Of particular interest to Witdoeck was religious imagery and the histories and antiquities of places such as Spain and Egypt. 

Witdoeck was employed as an artist-cataloguer of antiquities on a scientific expedition to Greece, Algiers, and Egypt beginning in 1824, a trip sponsored by King William I of the Netherlands. Three years later he compiled the sketches to be published in 1830 by Colonel Rottiers, who led the trip. Following this he began teaching architecture and art at the Jesuit college in Brugelette; then, he took a post as city architect of Turnhout. There, he founded a school of his own. He died in 1889, though some places cite his death as 1840 or 1873.

Works by Witdoeck can be found in museums throughout the Netherlands and Europe, and a painting of the Last Supper is housed at the Saint Catherine de Lille church in France.