The 1830 revolution resulted in a liberal, constitutional monarchy in Belgium and gave birth to a new, Romantic generation. After studying at Antwerp’s art academy, Leys made fruitful contacts in Paris, notably with Delacroix and Delaroche. He visited museums in Holland and Germany, growing enthusiastic for the primitives as well as the masters of the Northern European Renaissance. In a new wave of national pride that swept through Belgium, Leys became engrossed in the history of sixteenth-century Antwerp, when the city was a vibrant economic and cultural centre of Europe. Leys depicted Flanders’ historical customs and manners with sensitivity, recreating the soul of Antwerp. Typical of Leys’s art is the refinement of a traditional oil-on-wood technique, a balanced composition with illumination-like perspective and a meticulous style kindled by colours bathed in warm light.