ADRIEN DE MONTIGNY (FRENCH, C1570-1615) The Center of the Village of Rotselaar Cartouche: “Rotselaer.” Watercolor and gouache on vellum

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ADRIEN DE MONTIGNY (FRENCH, C1570-1615) The Center of the Village of Rotselaar Cartouche: “Rotselaer.” Watercolor and gouache on vellum 1596 - 1598 Vellum size: 20 1⁄2 x 15 1⁄4 in. Frame size: 26 x 21 in.  

The village here appears rather densely populated, though this was not actually the case. In 1598, the popula- tion of Rotselaar was at its lowest point of the 16th century, and the village had fallen on rather hard times. Adrien de Montigny chose to show it full of life, with a shepherd playing the bagpipes in the cool shadows of the trees while his dog watches the herd (this despite the absolute lack of herds in Rotselaar at this time), people on foot and horse- back entering the village at lower right, and even a small procession in front and slightly to the left of the church. 

This view is taken from the north side of the village. The two principal roads, each bordered by houses, pass in front of and beyond the church, which was located on the main square of the town. The road on the left led through the hamlet of Dieve and eventually connected to the main thoroughfare between Louvain and Aarschot, while that on the right went towards the west (right), crossing the Dyle near the watermills. 

Verso (right) The ‘Foncier’ of Rotselaar Top. The ‘foncier’ was the part of a signory that was owned outright by the lord of the area -- in this case, Charles de Croÿ -- and was therefore not held partially in the same sense as a fiefdom. The traditional foncier in Rotselaar lay along the Dyle, between the signorial watermills (pictured towards the top margin), the area of the fortified château, and the farm on the opposite bank of the Dyle. The center of the village is marked by a schematic rendering of its church. Middle. The medieval fortified château of the lords of Rotselaar on the Dyle had been partially consumed by fire in 1488, and here it is shown roofless, its second floor having been destroyed. Bottom. This is again the foncier, a view rather than plan of the area, and this time represented from the opposite direction (south). The farm is at left, across the Dyle, and the ruins of the signorial château are towards the top, their actual distance from the watermill at the lower margin significantly minimized.