In the early sixteenth century Bruges had a stable economic climate unlike the heady heyday of the fifteenth century. A small but wealthy elite continued to commission works of art but, in general, demand was falling, though the quality of what was produced remained high. Around the same time, a number of leading humanists congregated in the city. Erasmus called Bruges the 'Athens of the North'.
The catalogue provides a sampling of Bruges' artistic production between 1525 and 1625, with works by Ambrosius Benson, Adriaen Isenbrant, Marcus Gerards, Lancelot Blondeel, Pieter and Frans Pourbus, and Pieter, Antonius and Gillis Claeissens.