Metsys, Quinten

(1465/1466-1530)
   Painter born in Louvain who in the first decades of the 16th century became the leading master of Antwerp. Karel van Mander wrote that Metsys learned painting by coloring prints while recovering from an illness. Originally a black-smith, Metsys fell in love with a woman who disapproved of his trade so, to win her over, he changed his career to painter, the trade of a rival suitor. There may be some truth to van Mander's anecdote, though documents only record Metsys' father as a blacksmith but not the artist. Documents also record that Metsys entered the painter's guild in Antwerp in 1491 and that he purchased a house in the city, attesting to his success. Albrecht Dürer, in fact, visited Metsys' home and recorded that it housed an impressive collection of paintings.
   Early in his career, Metsys painted in the style of Jan van Eyck, Robert Campin, Hugo van der Goes, and Hans Memlinc, as his Madonna and Child (c. 1495-1505; Lyons, Musée des Beaux-Arts) attests. A few years later, however, he began incorporating Italianate elements into his art. His St. Anne Altarpiece (1507-1509; Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts), painted for a chapel in the Church of St-Pierre, Louvain owned by the Confraternity of St. Anne, displays a greater monumentality than his earlier works and softer, less angular draperies, as well as a triple-arched loggia with a domed cen-tral bay inspired by Northern Italian precedents. Metsys' other major altarpiece of this period is the Deposition (1508-1511; Antwerp, Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts), painted for the Chapel of the Carpenters' Guild in Antwerp Cathedral. This triptych features the emaciated body of Christ laid out in the foreground on a shroud, with Mary kneeling in prayer next to him instead of swooning as she is customarily represented. On the wings are scenes from the lives of the guild's patron saints. Salome presents the head of St. John the Baptist to Herod and St. John the Evangelist is shown in a caldron.
   Portraits and genre scenes were also part of Metsys' oeuvre. An example of the first is the Portrait of a Lady (c. 1510-1515; New York, Metropolitan Museum) who marks the page of her book of devotions with her index finger and pauses for a moment to ponder on the passage she has just read. The play of light on her crisp white headdress, forehead, cheek, and neck add to the work's visual appeal. The Banker and His Wife (1514; Louvre, Paris) and Unequal Pair (c. 1515-1520; Washington, National Gallery) are two moralizing genre scenes. The first, a work that recalls Petrus Christus' St. Eligius as a Goldsmith (1449; New York, Metropolitan Museum) contrasts the wife's piety, indicated by the book of devotions she peruses, to her husband's usury, denoted by the money in front of him and the scales he holds. Here the convex mirror in the foreground, which is believed to reflect the painter himself, invokes the mirror in van Eyck's Arnofini Wedding Portrait (1434; London, National Gallery). The second painting illustrates the adage that a fool and his money are soon parted. As the woman caresses the old man with whom she flirts, she hands his purse to her accomplice. These works show that Metsys was particularly interested in the art of Leonardo da Vinci and borrowed from him the solidity of figures and draperies as well as the sfumato device, softening it so as to retain the characteristically Northern brilliance of colors.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Metsys — Matsys, Massys, Metsys, Metzys ou Messys (Quinten ou Quentin) (1465 ou 1466 1530) peintre flamand, considéré comme le créateur de l école d Anvers. Il cultiva l expression psychologique: le Changeur et sa femme (1514, Louvre). Metsys V. Matsys …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Quentin Metsys — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Metsys. Quentin Metsys Naissance 1466 Louvain (Belgique) Décès 14 septembre …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Quentin Metsys the Younger — (rarely Quinten or Massys) (Antwerp, c. 1543 Frankfurt, 1589) [ Metsys is the usual and preferred spelling for the grandson; see [http://www.getty.edu/vow/ULANFullDisplay?find=metsys role= nation= prev page=1 subjectid=500025949 Getty Union list] …   Wikipedia

  • MASSYS (METSYS), Quentin — (c. 1466 1530) Quentin Massys, founder of the Antwerp school of painting, blended the me­dieval Flemish tradition with the style of the Italian Renaissance. Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, Massys utilized architectural settings, richer… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Quentin Massys — Quentin Metsys Pour les articles homonymes, voir Metsys. Quentin Metsys Naissance 1466 Louvain (Belgique) Décès 14 septembre 1530 Anvers Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Quentin Matsys — Quentin Metsys Pour les articles homonymes, voir Metsys. Quentin Metsys Naissance 1466 Louvain (Belgique) Décès 14 septembre 1530 Anvers Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Quentin Metsy — Quentin Metsys Pour les articles homonymes, voir Metsys. Quentin Metsys Naissance 1466 Louvain (Belgique) Décès 14 septembre 1530 Anvers Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Quentin Massys — nach einem Porträt von Joachim von Sandrart Quentin Massys (als Vorname ist auch Quinten oder Kwinten, als Nachname Massijs, Matsijs, Matsys oder Metsys überliefert) (* ca. 1466 in Löwen; † 1530 in Antwerpen) war ein flämischer Maler und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Quentin Matsys — For his grandson, the Elizabethan painter, see Quentin Metsys the Younger. Quentin Matsys, engraved by Joachim von Sandrart for his Teutsche Akademie. Quentin Matsys[1] (Dutch: Quinten Matsijs) (1466–1529) was a painter in the Flemish tradition… …   Wikipedia

  • Le Prêteur et sa femme — Artiste Quentin Metsys Année 1514 Type Huile sur panneau Technique …   Wikipédia en Français

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