Quentin Matsys

1466 - 1530 / wikipedia
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Netherlandish, Leuven 1466–1530 Kiel)

Quentin Matsys (Dutch: Quinten Matsijs) also Massys; painter in the Flemish tradition and a founder of the Antwerp school. He was born at Leuven, where legend states 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.

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 Matsys is known to be a native of Leuven with humble beginnings as an ironsmith. One of 4 children, Matsys was born to Joost Matsys (d. 1483) and Catherine van Kincken sometime between 4 April and 10 Sept. 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....

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 25, his own style contributed importantly to reviving Flemish art along the lines of Van Eyck and Van der Weyden.

....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... (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Matsys)
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Suzan Hamer

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