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Bruyne, Edgar de

    Image Credit: Wikidata

    Full Name: Bruyne, Edgar de

    Other Names:

    • née Adelyn Dohme

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 18 April 1898

    Date Died: 06 May 1959

    Place Born: Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium

    Place Died: Schaerbeek, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium

    Home Country/ies: Belgium

    Subject Area(s): Medieval (European) and philosophy

    Career(s): educators and philosophers


    Medievalist; professor of philosophy. He was born in Ypres, Belgium or in Dutch Leper, Belgium. De Bruyne attended high school at the St.-Vincentiuscollege in Ypres. In 1915, when the Germans attacked Ypres in World War I, the family fled to Sées in France (Orne). Here De Bruyne continued his high school education. In September 1916 he joined the Belgian army. After the war De Bruyne enrolled at Louvain University to study philosophy while still serving in the army. After having earned his Bachelor’s degree, in 1919, he entered the Benedictine abbey, Regina Coeli, in Louvain. He soon obtained an extended leave from the army. He continued his studies, specializing in medieval philosophy. He graduated in 1921, and the next year he earned his doctor’s degree at Louvain University with his dissertation on Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), La théorie de la personalité d’après St.-Thomas. In December 1922 he was granted an indult to leave the Benedictine order. In 1925 De Bruyne obtained a teaching opposition at Ghent University. Between 1925 and 1937 he in addition held a teaching position at the Institut Saint-Louis in Brussels (now: Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, FUSL). In 1927 he married Lucy Swisser. In 1929 he published his first study on the philosophy of art, Kunstphilosophie. In 1930 he devoted a study to the contemporary painter Albert Servaes (1883-1966), Servaes. In the same year he was appointed professor extraordinarius and successively, in 1933, professor ordinarius at Ghent University. He held this position until his retirement in 1958. He taught ethics and philosophy, and from 1933 onwards, aesthetics as well. He published important studies in each of those fields. From 1935 to 1959 he taught at the Koloniale Hogeschool in Antwerp, later renamed Universitair Instituut voor Overzeese Gebieden (UNIVOG). In 1938 he was elected a member of the Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van België. In the field of aesthetics two handbooks appeared in 1940 and 1942 respectively. In 1945, after the Second World War, he served for a short time as the Belgian Minister of Colonial Affairs. In the following year he published a major work on medieval aesthetics, in three volumes, Études d’esthétique médiévale, which was followed in 1947 by L’esthétique du Moyen Age. De Bruyne was a member of the editorial board of the sixth edition (1947) of the Winkler Prins Encyclopaedie, representing Belgium. In the 1950s his monumental five-volume work on the history of aesthetics, from Greek Antiquity up to the Renaissance, appeared, Geschiedenis van de Aesthetica. In 1954 he became a foreign member of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie voor wetenschappen. De Bruyne in addition to his scholarly career served many years as a politician. His pioneering work in the field of medieval aesthetics, Études d’esthétique médiévale, is an exhaustive scholarly investigation into medieval Latin sources dealing with beauty, art, literature, and music. As explicitly stated in the introduction, De Bruyne refrained from taking into consideration modern interpretations or aesthetic evaluations of medieval works of art.

    Selected Bibliography

    Saint Thomas d’Aquin. Le Milieu, l’Homme, L’Oeuvre. Paris: Beauchesne, 1928; Kunstphilosophie. Brussels: Standaard- Boekhandel, 1929, French: Esquisse d’une philosophie de l’art. Brussels: L’Édition Universelle, 1930; Servaes. Brussels: Standaard- Boekhandel, 1932; Albert Servaes en de Vlaamsche vroomheid. Antwerp: Die Poorte, 1935; Philosophie van de kunst: phaenomenologie van het kunstwerk. Antwerp: Standaard-Boekhandel, 1940; Het Aesthetisch Beleven. Antwerp: Standaard- Boekhandel, 1942; Études d’esthétique médiévale. 3 vols. Bruges: De Tempel, 1946; L’esthétique du Moyen Age. Louvain: Institut Supérieur de Philosophie, 1947; Geschiedenis van de Aesthetica. 1. De Griekse Oudheid, 2. De Romeinse Oudheid, 3. De Christelijke Oudheid, 4. De Middeleeuwen, 5. De Renaissance. Antwerp: Standaard-Boekhandel, 1951-1955.


    De Seyn, Eug. Dictionnaire biographique des Sciences, des Lettres et des Arts en Belgique. 1. Brussels: Éditions L’Avenir, 1935, p. 214; De Cock, A. Nationaal Biografisch Woordenboek. 7, Brussels: Paleis der Academiën, 1977, 108-114; Grooten, J. “Bruyne, Edgar de” Winkler Prins Encyclopaedie 5. Amsterdam – Brussel: Elsevier, 1949, p. 172-173; Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire de l’art; de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986 p. 189-190, 354; [obituaries:] Janssens, A. J. “In memoriam Prof. Dr. Edgar De Bruyne, 1898-1959” Tijdschrift voor Philosophie 21 (1959): 356-364; De Raeymaeker, L. “In memoriam Edgar De Bruyne” Revue philosophique de Louvain 57 (1959): 286-289; Sassen, Ferd. “Herdenking van Edgar de Bruyne (18 april 1898 – 6 mei 1959)” Jaarboek der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, 1959-1960. Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandse uitgevers Maatschappij, 1960, p. 359-365.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Monique Daniels


    Emily Crockett and Monique Daniels. "Bruyne, Edgar de." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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