Massys, Matsys, Messys, or Metsys, Quentin kvĕn´tĭn mäsīs´, mätsīs´, mĕ–, mĕt– [key]
, 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).
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