Quentin Matsys, Matsys also spelled Massys, Metsys, or Messys
(born c. 1465/66, Leuven, Brabant [now in Belgium] – died 1530,
Antwerp), was a Flemish artist, the first important painter of the
Trained as a blacksmith in his native Leuven, Matsys is said to have
studied painting after falling in love with an artist's daughter. In
1491 he went to Antwerp and was admitted into the painters' guild.
Among Matsys's early works are two pictures of the Virgin and Child.
His most celebrated paintings are two large triptych altarpieces, The
Holy Kinship, or St. Anne Altarpiece, ordered for the Church of
Saint-Pieter in Leuven (1507–09), and The Entombment of the Lord
(c. 1508–11), both of which exhibit strong religious feeling and
precision of detail. His tendency to accentuate individual expression
is demonstrated in such pictures as The Old Man and the Courtesan
and The Money Changer and His Wife. Christus Salvator Mundi
and The Virgin in Prayer display serene dignity. Pictures with
figures on a smaller scale are a polyptych, the scattered parts of which
have been reassembled, and a later Virgin and Child. His landscape
backgrounds are in the style of one of his contemporaries, the Flemish
artist Joachim Patinir; the landscape depicted in Matsys's The
Crucifixion is believed to be the work of Patinir. Matsys painted
many notable portraits, including one of his friend Erasmus.
Although his portraiture is more subjective and personal than that of
Albrecht Dürer or Hans Holbein, Matsys's painting may have been
influenced by both German masters. Matsys's lost St. Jerome in
His Study, of which a copy survives in Vienna, is indebted to
Dürer's St. Jerome, now in Lisbon. Some Italian influence
may also be detected, as in Virgin and Child, in which the
figures are obviously copied from Leonardo da Vinci's
Virgin of the Rocks.
Matsys's two sons were artists. Jan (1509–75), who became a master
in the guild of Antwerp in 1531, was banished in 1543 for his heretical
opinions, spent 15 years in Italy or France, and returned to Antwerp
in 1558. His early pictures were imitations of his father's work, but
a half-length Judith with the Head of Holofernes of a later date, now
in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, shows Italian or French influence,
as does Lot and His Daughters (1563). Cornelis Matsys (1513–79),
Quentin's second son, became a master painter in 1531, painting landscapes
in his father's style and also executing engravings.
From October of 1916 through January of 1917, Rudolf Steiner gave a series
of nine lectures known as the Art Course. These lectures were given
the title of:
The History of Art.
Click here to discover what Steiner said about Quentin Matsys in the
or in the entire