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Massys

Massys

[mah-sahys]
Massys, Matsys, Messys, or Metsys, Quentin, c.1466-1530, Flemish painter. After studying in Louvain, he moved to Antwerp by 1491, remaining in that city throughout his life. Influences of Italian art, especially of Leonardo da Vinci, may be seen in his work, particularly in the delicate modeling, the subtle nuances of tone, and in the adoption of Leonardo's grotesque head studies for such pictures as The Old Man (Jacquemart-André Mus., Paris) and Ugly Duchess (National Gall., London). Massys sought inspiration also in works of earlier Flemish artists, especially of Jan van Eyck. The combined Flemish and Italian influences aided Massys in evolving a calm and measured style, with solid figures and soft textures. He developed a type of portraiture in which the sitter was placed against an appropriate background, as in his painting of St. Erasmus surrounded by books and papers (National Gall., Rome). There are religious subjects and portraits by Massys in the museums of Munich, Brussels, Antwerp, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Quentin's son, Jan Massys, c.1509-1575, painted satirical and later more elegant works under French influence. Judith (Mus. of Fine Arts, Boston) is characteristic. Another son, Cornelis Massys, d. after 1560, was a landscape painter and engraver. His Arrival in Bethlehem is in the Metropolitan Museum.

See M. J. Friedländer, From Van Eyck to Bruegel (2 vol., 3d ed. 1969).

(born circa 1465/66, Louvain, Brabant—died 1530, Antwerp) Flemish artist. According to tradition, Metsys (whose name was also spelled Massys and Matsys) was trained as a blacksmith but studied painting after falling in love with an artist's daughter. He was admitted to the Antwerp artists' guild in 1491. His most celebrated paintings are two large triptych altarpieces, The Holy Kinship (1507–09) and The Entombment of Christ (1508–11), both of which exhibit strong religious feelings and precision of detail. He painted many notable portraits, including one of Desiderius Erasmus. He was the first important painter of the Antwerp school, and the first Flemish artist to effect a genuine synthesis of the northern European and Italian Renaissance traditions.

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