First curator of the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp; Rubens scholar; literary critic. Rooses earned a doctoral degree in philosophy and literature at the University of Liège in 1865. He was an active promoter of the Dutch language and the Flemish culture in his country. He taught Dutch language and literature at high schools (Athenaeum) in Namur and Ghent. In 1876 he settled in Antwerp to become the first curator of the Plantin-Moretus Museum, which opened to the public in 1877. It was, and still is, housed in the former residence and workshop of Christophe Plantin, the founder of the famous printing and publishing firm, the Officina Plantiniana (1555). In 1878 Rooses published a short description of the building and the collections, Le Musée Plantin-Moretus. Description sommaire des bâtiments et des collections. Rooses was also actively involved in the organization of the tercentenary Rubens exhibition in 1877, under the direction of Henri Hymans. On that occasion, the city of Antwerp awarded him the first prize for his book, Geschiedenis der Antwerpsche schilderschool (1879). In 1882 Rooses wrote a monograph on Christophe Plantin, Christophe Plantin, imprimeur anversois. He also was a contributor to the 9 volume edition of Correspondance de Christophe Plantin (vol. 1-3). In 1886 Rooses was elected corresponding member of the Académie royale de Belgique (classe des Beaux-Arts), and he was elected a member in 1889. Between 1886 and 1892 his monumental 5-volume work, L'oeuvre de P. P. Rubens, appeared. Rooses was a contributor to the yearbooks of the Rubens Bulletijn (1882-1910) and, with Charles-Louis Ruelens, he was the editor of the letters of Rubens and the correspondence on the life and the works of the painter (published between 1887 and 1909). In 1890 Rooses published a monograph on Rubens, first in German, Rubens' Leben und Werke. Dutch and French editions appeared in 1903. In this impressive work Rooses brought together the findings from his research. Rooses also paid homage to two other important Flemish masters, Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens. Following the 1899 Antwerp exhibition on Van Dyck, the paintings were published by Rooses together with commentaries and the biography of the artist. In an elaborate study on Jordaens, Jordaens' leven en werken (1906), Rooses aimed to re-evaluate the works of this artist. Between 1898 and 1900 Rooses served as the editor of a 4-volume collection of monographs by a number of writers on modern nineteenth-century Dutch painters, Het schildersboek. Nederlandsche schilders der negentiende eeuw in monografieën door tijdgenoten. In 1913 he published an overview of the history of Flemish art, Flandre. Rooses retired in 1914, and died a few months later. Rooses' critical catalog, L'oeuvre de P. P. Rubens, offers for the first time a broad documentation on all the works of Rubens. It was a significant step forward in the Rubens research of his time.
10 February 1839
15 July 1914
[complete bibliography:] De Born, E. "Bibliographie van Max Rooses" Het Boek 4 (1915): 1-4, 97-112, 194; 462-463; Geschiedenis der Antwerpsche schilderschool. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1879; Christophe Plantin, imprimeur anversois. Antwerp: J. Maes, 1882-1883; and Denucé, Jean and Van Durme, Maurice. Correspondance de Christophe Plantin. 9 vols. Antwerp: J. E. Buschmann, 1883-1918; L'oeuvre de P. P. Rubens, histoire et description de ses tableaux et dessins. 5 vols. Antwerp: J. Maes, 1886-1892; and Ruelens, C. (eds) Correspondance de Rubens et documents épistolaires concernant sa vie et ses oeuvres. 6 vols. Antwerp: Veuve de Backer, 1887-1909; Rubens' Leben und Werke. Stuttgart, Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1890; Het schildersboek: Nederlandsche schilders der negentiende eeuw in monographieën door tijdgenooten [etc.]. 4 vols. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1898-1900; Dutch Painters of the Nineteenth Century. 4 vols. London: S. Low, Marston & Co., 1898-1901; Jordaens' leven en werken. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1906, English, Jacob Jordaens, his Life and Work. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1908; Rubens' leven en werken. Antwerp: De Nederlandsche boekhandel, 1903; French, Rubens, sa vie et ses oeuvres. Paris: Flammarion 1903, English, Rubens. London: Duckworth & Co., 1904; "Henri Hymans (1836-1912)" Bulletin de l'Académie royale d'archéologie de Belgique (1912): 123-156; Flandre. Paris: Librairie Hachette et Cie, 1913, English, Art in Flanders. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1914.
Venne, Jef van de. "Max Rooses." Mannen van beteekenis in onze dagen series 24. Haarlem: H. D. Tjeenk Willink, 1893, p. 225-278; De Seyn, Eug. Dictionnaire biographique des Sciences, des Lettres et des Arts en Belgique. 2. Brussels: Éditions L'Avenir, 1936, p. 874-875; Bouchery, H. F. et al. "Max Rooses herdacht" De Gulden Passer 16-17 (1938-1939); Dictionnaire des journalistes-écrivains de Belgique. Brussels: Section Bruxelloise de l'Association Générale de la Presse Belge, 1960; Martin, John Rupert. The Ceiling Paintings for the Jesuit Church in Antwerp. Part I of Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard. London and New York: Phaidon, 1968, mentioned, pp. ix-x.; Voet, Leon. The Golden Compasses. A History and Evaluation of the Printing and Publishing Activities of the Officina Plantiniana at Antwerp. 1, Christophe Plantin and the Moretuses: their Lives and their World. Amsterdam: Vangendt & Co, 1969, p. 408-410, 462-463; Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l'histoire de l'art: de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986, p. 504; Le nouveau dictionnaire des Belges. Brussels: Le Cri, 1992; [obituaries:] L[ionel] C[ust]. "Max Rooses." Burlington Magazine 25, no. 137 (August 1914): 318; "Max Rooses in memoriam (10 Februari 1839 - 15 Juli 1914)" Het Boek 4 (1915): 185-193.