Van der Vynckt was born in Ghent and studied law at the university of Louvain. He then traveled to France, Italy, and Germany. On his return, he was appointed a member of the council of Flanders in 1729. He devoted himself to studying the history of the Flemish region and the Netherlands and published several books on the topic. His description of the Camposanto reflects a general change in how the Camposanto was viewed. Starting in the eighteenth century, more travel accounts tend to include descriptions and critiques of the wall paintings. Earlier travelers had paid more attention to the legend of holy earth and the tomb inscriptions at the Camposanto; more often than not, the frescoes were not mentioned. / DJ

Vynckt, Pisa (excerpt)

Edition: Luc-Joseph van der Vynckt, Voyage En Italie De Trois Gentilshommes Flamands, Bulletin de l’Institut Historique Belge de Rome 30 (1957): 215-536, 326.


Il Campo santo, ainsi nommé parce que le cimetière qui est au milieu, est rempli de terre sainte qu’on y a apportée de la Palestine, est un grand bâtiment quarré en galerie à l’entour de ce cimetière. Cette galerie est belle, on y voit quantité de monumens, tombeaux et pierres sépulchrales; les murs sont peints en fresque des actions héroïques et des guerres des Pisans; on y voit le Paradis et l’Enfer, dans l’idée du célèbre poète Dante, et Salomon, dans ses habits royaux, qui sort de sa sépulture dans une attitude qu’on ne scauroit dire s’il va au Paradis ou à l’Enfer. L’exterieur du Campo santo est de marbre et est une longue façade, il est à droite du Dôme quand on a le dos contre la façade ou le grand autel. Dans les galleries de ce Campo sont inhumés beaucoup de grands personnages.


The Campo Santo, so called because the cemetery in the middle is filled with the holy earth brought from Palestine, is a large building in a square form arranged in a gallery around the cemetery. This gallery is beautiful and has a lot of monuments, tombs and tombstones; the walls are painted in fresco with the heroic deeds and wars of the Pisans; you can see Paradise and Hell, according to the idea of the famous poet Dante, and Solomon in his royal clothes, who comes out of his tomb in such a way that you can’t tell if he is going to Heaven or Hell. The exterior of the Campo Santo is made of marble and has a long facade, it is on the right side of the Cathedral when one’s back is against the facade or the high altar. Many great characters are buried in the galleries of this Campo Santo.