|Died||1530 (aged 63–64)|
|Known for||Religious and satirical portraits|
|The Ugly Duchess|
Quentin Matsys : Quinten Matsijs) (1466–1530) was a Flemish painter in the Early Netherlandish tradition. He was born in Leuven. There is a tradition alleging that he was trained as an ironsmith before becoming a painter. Matsys was active in Antwerp for over 20 years, creating numerous works with religious roots and satirical tendencies. He is regarded as the founder of the Antwerp school of painting, which became the leading school of painting in Flanders in the 16th century. He introduced new techniques and motifs as well as moralising subjects without completely breaking with the tradition.(Dutch
Most early accounts of Matsys' life are composed primarily of legend and very little contemporary accounts exist of the nature of his activities or character. According to J. Molanus' Historiae Lovaniensium Massys is known to be a native of Leuven with humble beginnings as an ironsmith. One of four children, Massys was born to Joost Matsys (d. 1483) and Catherine van Kincken sometime between 4 April and 10 September 1466. Legend states that Matsys abandoned his career as a blacksmith to woo his wife, who found painting to be a more romantic profession, though Karel van Mander claimed this to be false, and the real reason was a sickness during which he was too weak to work at the smithy and instead decorated prints for the carnival celebrations.
Documented donations and possessions of Joost Matsys indicate that the family had a respectable income and that financial need was most likely not the reason Matsys turned to painting. During the period in which Matsys was active in Antwerp he took only four apprentices: a certain Ariaen whom certain art historians believe to be Adriaen van Overbeke (master in 1508),Willem Muelenbroec (registered in 1501), Eduart Portugalois (registered in 1504, master in 1506), and Hennen Boeckmakere (registered in 1510). It is widely believed that Joachim Patinir studied with Matsys at some point during his career and contributed to several of his landscapes (such as The Temptation of St. Anthony at the Prado Museum in Madrid). Lack of guild records during this time leaves Matsys' travels to Italy and other parts of the Low Countries as part of his training open to question. For the most part, foreign influences on Matsys are inferred from his paintings and are considered to be a large portion of the artist's training during the 16th century.
During the greater part of the 15th century, the centres in which the painters of the Low Countries most congregated were Tournai, Bruges, Ghent and Brussels. Leuven gained prominence toward the close of this period, employing workmen from all of the crafts including Matsys. Not until the beginning of the 16th century did Antwerp take the lead which it afterward maintained against Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Mechelen and Leuven.Because no guild records were kept prior to 1494 in Leuven there is no concrete proof that Matsys attained his master's status there; however, historians generally accept this to be the location of his early training because he had not been previously registered in Antwerp as an apprentice. As a member of Antwerp's Guild of Saint Luke, Matsys is considered to be one of its first notable artists. Existing records of guild laws and regulations from the 16th century indicate that it is highly unlikely that Matsys was self-taught, despite accounts in Carel van Mander's Schilderboeck (1604) stating that Matsys studied under no artist.
Although the roots of Matsys' training are unknown, his style reflects the artistic qualities of Dirk Bouts, who brought to Leuven the influence of Hans Memling and Rogier Van der Weyden. When Matsys settled at Antwerp at the age of twenty-five, his own style contributed importantly to reviving Flemish art along the lines of Van Eyck and Van der Weyden.Matsys departed from Leuven in 1491 when he became a master in the guild of painters at Antwerp. His most well known satirical works include A Portrait of an Elderly Man (1513), and The Money Changer and His Wife (1514), all of which provide commentary on human feeling and society in general. He also painted religious altarpieces and triptych panels, the most famous of which was built for the Church of Saint Peter in Leuven.
Matsys work is considered to contain strong religious feeling—characteristic of traditional Flemish works—and is accompanied by a realism that often favored the grotesque. Matsys' firmness of outline, clear modelling and thorough finish of detail stem from Van de Weyden's influence; from the Van Eycks and Memling by way of Dirck Bouts, the glowing richness of transparent pigments. Matsys' works generally reflect earnestness in expression, minutely detailed renderings, and subdued effects in light and shade. Like most Flemish artists of the time he paid a great deal of attention to jewelry, edging of garments, and ornamentation in general.
Most of the emphasis in his works lies not upon atmosphere, which is in fact given very little attention, but to the literalness of caricature: emphasizing the melancholy refinement of saints, the brutal gestures and grimaces of gaolers and executioners. Strenuous effort is devoted to the expression of individual character. A satirical tendency may be seen in the pictures of merchant bankers (Louvre and Windsor), revealing their greed and avarice. His other impulse, dwelling on the feelings of tenderness, may be noted in two replicas of the Virgin and Child at Berlin and Amsterdam, where the ecstatic kiss of the mother seems rather awkward. An expression of acute despair may be seen in a Lucretia in the museum at Vienna. The remarkable glow of the colour in these works; however, makes the Mannerist exaggerations palatable.
Matsys had considerable skill as a portrait painter. His Ægidius (Peter Gilles) which drew from Thomas More a eulogy in Latin verse, is but one of many, to which one may add the portrait of Maximilian of Austria in the gallery in Amsterdam. In this branch of his practice, Matsys was greatly influenced by his fellow countryman Jan Mabuse.Matsys' portraiture exhibits highly personal and individual emotional characteristics that reflect his adherence to realism as a technique.
In comparison to other Northern Renaissance artists such as Holbein and Dürer Matsys shies away from refined and subtle detailing. Because there are numerous connections between him and these masters, however, it can be concluded that his departure in techniques was deliberate and not an act of ignorance. He most likely met Holbein more than once on his way to England, and Dürer is believed to have visited his house at Antwerp in 1520.Matsys also became the guardian of Joachim Patinir's children after the death of that painter.
His Virgin and Christ, Ecce Homo and Mater Dolorosa (London and Antwerp) are known for their serene and dignified mastery, gaining in delicacy and nuance in the works of his maturity. It is believed that he had known the work of Leonardo da Vinci in the form of prints made and circulated among northern artists (his Madonna and Child with the Lamb, inspired by The Virgin and Child with St. Anne , reflects da Vinci's influences).This is largely regarded as proof that Matsys was greatly influenced by Italian Renaissance artists and that he most likely travelled to Italy for at least a brief period.
Matsys died at Antwerp in 1529. He was a religious devotee, despite several of his relatives dying as a result of their faith. His sister Catherine and her husband suffered at Leuven in 1543 for what was then the capital offence of reading the Bible: he being decapitated, she allegedly buried alive in the square before the church. In 1629 the first centennial of Matsys' death was marked by a ceremony and erection of a relief plaque with an accompanying inscription on the facade of the Antwerp Cathedral. Benefactor Cornelius van der Geest is said to be responsible for the wording, stating: "in his time a smith and afterwards a famous painter", keeping in accordance with the legends surrounding Matsys' humble beginnings.
Matsys' works include A Portrait of an Elderly Man (1513), Christ presented to the People (1518-1520)(Prado), and A Grotesque Old Woman (or The Ugly Duchess) which is perhaps the best-known of his works. It served as a basis for John Tenniel's depiction of the Duchess in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland . It is likely a depiction of a real person with Paget's disease, though it is sometimes said to be a metaphorical portrait of the Margaret, Countess of Tyrol, who was known as Maultasch, which, though literally translated "satchel mouth", was used to mean "ugly woman" or "whore" (because of her marital scandals). His two large triptych altarpieces The Holy Kinship or Saint Anne Altarpiece (1507–1509) and The Entombment of the Lord (1508–1511) are also highly celebrated. Commissioned for the Church of Saint Peter in Leuven, they reflect strong religious feeling and precise detailing characteristic to the majority of his works.
Matsys also painted part of the altarpiece of the Convento da Madre de Deus, in Lisbon. The altar is a primitive invocation of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, with boards still evocative of "Our Lady of Sorrows","Jesus among the Doctors", "on the path to Calvary", "Calvary", "Lamentation" (all at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga) and "Flight into Egypt" (Worcester Art Museum). Since the convent was founded by D. Leonor, Queen Dowager of King John II of Portugal and sister of King Manuel of Portugal, in 1509, it appeared that the order of this set has been performed once, with some authors (Firedlander) pointing as the date of making the frames years prior to 1511.His Christ as the Man of Sorrows is in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
Quentin's son, Jan Matsys, inherited the art but did not seek to expand upon his father's legacy. The earliest of his works, a St Jerome dated 1537, in the gallery of Vienna, as well as the latest, a Healing of Tobias of 1564, in the museum of Antwerp, are evidence of his tendency to substitute imitation for originality.Another son, Cornelis Matsys, was also a painter. Jan's son, Quentin Metsys the Younger, was an artist of the Tudor court, and painted the Sieve Portrait of Elizabeth I of England.
Near the front of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp is a wrought-iron well, known as the "Matsys Well", which according to tradition was made by the painter-to-be.
Matsys was a cult figure during the 17th century in Antwerp [ clarification needed ] in addition to being one of the founders of the local school of painting (which climaxed with the career of Peter Paul Rubens).
A penny serial by the British author Pierce Egan the Younger entitled Quintin Matsys was published in 1839.
Gerard David was an Early Netherlandish painter and manuscript illuminator known for his brilliant use of color. Only a bare outline of his life survives, although some facts are known. He may have been the Meester gheraet van brugghe who became a master of the Antwerp guild in 1515. He was very successful in his lifetime and probably ran two workshops, in Antwerp and Bruges. Like many painters of his period, his reputation diminished in the 17th century until he was rediscovered in the 19th century.
Rogier van der Weyden or Roger de la Pasture was an Early Netherlandish painter whose surviving works consist mainly of religious triptychs, altarpieces, and commissioned single and diptych portraits. He was highly successful in his lifetime; his paintings were exported to Italy and Spain, and he received commissions from, amongst others, Philip the Good, Netherlandish nobility, and foreign princes. By the latter half of the 15th century, he had eclipsed Jan van Eyck in popularity. However his fame lasted only until the 17th century, and largely due to changing taste, he was almost totally forgotten by the mid-18th century. His reputation was slowly rebuilt during the following 200 years; today he is known, with Robert Campin and van Eyck, as the third of the three great Early Flemish artists, and widely as the most influential Northern painter of the 15th century.
Jan Gossaert was a French-speaking painter from the Low Countries also known as Jan Mabuse or Jennyn van Hennegouwe (Hainaut), as he called himself when he matriculated in the Guild of Saint Luke, at Antwerp, in 1503. He was one of the first painters of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting to visit Italy and Rome, which he did in 1508–09, and a leader of the style known as Romanism, which brought elements of Italian Renaissance painting to the north, sometimes with a rather awkward effect. He achieved fame across at least northern Europe, and painted religious subjects, including large altarpieces, but also portraits and mythological subjects, including some nudity.
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Dieric Bouts was an Early Netherlandish painter.
Marinus van Reymerswaele or Marinus van Reymerswale was a Dutch Renaissance painter mainly known for his genre scenes and religious compositions. After studying in Leuven and training and working as an artist in Antwerp, he returned later to work in his native Northern Netherlands. He operated a large workshop which produced many versions of mainly four themes: the tax collectors, the money changer and his wife, the calling of Saint Matthew and St. Jerome in his study.
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp is a museum in Antwerp, Belgium, founded in 1810, houses a collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries. This collection is representative of the artistic production and the taste of art enthusiasts in Antwerp, Belgium and the Northern and Southern Netherlands since the 15th century. The museum has been closed for renovation since 2011.
Joos van Cleve was a leading painter active in Antwerp from his arrival there around 1511 to his death in 1540 or 1541. Within Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, he combines the traditional techniques of Early Netherlandish painting with influences of more contemporary Renaissance painting styles.
Hieronymus Cock, or Hieronymus Wellens de Cock was a Flemish painter and etcher as well as a publisher and distributor of prints. Cock is regarded as one of the most important print publishers of his time in northern Europe. His publishing house played a key role in the transformation of printmaking from an activity of individual artists and craftsmen into an industry based on division of labour. His house published more than 1,100 prints between 1548 and his death in 1570, a vast number by earlier standards.
Jan Massijs or Jan Matsys was a Flemish Renaissance painter known for his history paintings, genre scenes and landscapes. He also gained a reputation as a painter of the female nude, which he painted with a sensuality reminiscent of the school of Fontainebleau.
Quentin Metsys the Younger was a Flemish Renaissance painter, one of several of his countrymen active as artists of the Tudor court in the reign of Elizabeth I of England. He was the son of Flemish painter Jan Massys, Matsys, or Metsys and the grandson and namesake of Quentin Massys or Metsys.
The Master of Frankfurt was a Flemish Renaissance painter active in Antwerp between about 1480 and 1520. Although he probably never visited Frankfurt am Main, his name derives from two paintings commissioned from patrons in that city, the Holy Kinship in the Frankfurt Historical Museum and a Crucifixion in the Städel museum.
Jan de Beer, formerly known as the Master of the Milan Adoration was a Flemish painter, draughtsman and glass designer active in Antwerp at the beginning of the 16th century. He is considered one of the most important members of the loose group of painters active in and around Antwerp in the early 16th century referred to as the Antwerp Mannerists. Highly respected in his time, he operated a large workshop with an important output of religious compositions.
Gortzius Geldorp (1553–1618) was a Flemish Renaissance artist who was active in Germany where he distinguished himself through his portrait paintings.
Glue-size is a painting technique in which pigment is bound (sized) to cloth with hide glue, and typically the unvarnished cloth was then fixed to the frame using the same glue. Glue-size is also known as distemper, though the term "distemper" is applied variously to different techniques. Glue-size was used because hide glue was a popular binding medium in the 15th century, particularly among artists of the Early Netherlandish period, who used it as an inexpensive alternative to oil. Although a large number of works using this medium were produced, few survive today, mainly because of the high perishability of linen cloth and the solubility of hide glue. Well-known and relatively well-preserved — though substantially damaged — the most notable examples include Quentin Matsys' Virgin and Child with Saints Barbara and Catherine and Dirk Bouts' Entombment. In German the technique is known as Tüchleinfarben, meaning “small cloth colours”, or Tüchlein, derived from the German words Tüch and Lein.
The Leonardeschi were the large group of artists who worked in the studio of, or under the influence of, Leonardo da Vinci. They were artists during the flourishing Renaissance and although Leonardo's studio was in Florence, his influence extended to many countries within Europe.
Cornelis Massijs, was a Flemish Renaissance painter, draughtsman and engraver, mainly known for his landscapes and, to a lesser extent, genre scenes and portraits. He is regarded as an important figure in the transition from the fantastic landscapes of Joachim Patinir to the 'pure landscapes' of later Netherlandish landscape painting.
Lamentation of Christ is a 1511 painting created by the Flemish artist Quentin Matsys for the carpenters' guild in Antwerp Cathedral, where it still hangs.
The Joiners' Guild Altarpiece is a altarpiece by Quentin Matsys, executed c. 1511, produced for the eponymous guild in the aftermath of its split from the Coopers' Guild in 1497. It is now in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp. It is sometimes also known as the Passion Altarpiece or the Martyrdom Altarpiece after the scenes of martyrdoms of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist on the side panels. Both these saints were patrons of carpenters and also appear in grisaille on the outside of the side panels. The central panel shows the Lamentation over the Dead Christ.
Adriaen van Overbeke, Adrian van Overbeck and Adriaen van Overbeke was a Flemish Renaissance painter in the style of Antwerp Mannerism. He operated a large workshop with an important output of altarpieces, which were mainly exported to Northern France, the Rhineland and Westphalia. His known works were predominantly polychromed wooden altarpieces with painted shutters, which were created through a collaboration between painters and sculptors.