Stefan Huygebaert is an art historian and a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University’s Department of Art History, Musicology and Theatre Studies, within the research Group ThIS – The Inside Story. His main research focus is the art of the long nineteenth-century. In May 2019, he defended his FWO-funded PhD thesis on the iconology of law in nineteenth century Belgium. This research, scrutinizing how the notions of ‘law’ and ‘justice’ were communicated and legitimated via art towards the Belgian population, was conducted within Ghent University’s Ghent Legal History Institute, the Department of History and the Department of Art History, Musicology and Theatre Studies, and at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (Max-Planck-Institut). From October 2019 until September 2022, Stefan scrutinized picturesqueness and symbolism in fin-de-siècle portrayals of cities like Bruges as a FWO post-doctoral researcher.
From October 2022 onwards, Stefan is curator and researcher at Mu.ZEE Oostende, whilst remaining affiliated with the Deparment of Art History, Musicology and Theatre Studies as a voluntary post-doctral researcher.
With Vanessa Paumen, Tine Van Poucke and Georges Martyn, Stefan co-edited the exhibition catalogue The Art of Law (Groeningemuseum, Bruges, 28 October 2016 - 5 February 2017). In 2022, co-curated the exhibition Albert Baertsoen (MSK Ghent, 3 September - 27 November 2022) with Johan De Smet and René Vermeir.
His key scientific interests are legal iconology and the art history and visual culture of the long nineteenth century, including artistic revivalism, symbolism, the picturesque, postcard studies, the city of Bruges and the art of Léon Spilliaert.