Netherlands • 1465−1530

He sought to synthesize the principles of the Dutch and Italian Renaissance. He worked in Antwerp, wrote large altar paintings and genre scenes of moralizing content, in which he showed interest in real life beginnings - portrait characteristics, everyday life, landscape environment. He had a strong influence on the Dutch and German masters of the XVI century.


Quentin Massys' son, Jan Mussis, also became an artist.

Maceys style was formed in line with the Dutch tradition; he was later influenced by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer. His customers were the Netherlands guilds and religious brotherhoods, the Danish king and humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam, the Portuguese monasteries.

Mussys was born in Louvain in 1466. He probably studied under Albert Bouts. In 1491 he joined the Antwerp Artists' Guild and opened his own workshop. He worked in Antwerp until his death in 1530.

Already the earliest extant works of Maysys - Altar of St.. Anne (1507–1509, Brussels, Royal Museum of Fine Arts) and the Altar of St. John - discover the features of a mature style wizard. Two versions of Madonna and Child are close to them (London, National Gallery; Brussels, Royal Museum of Fine Arts). The influence of Leonardo da Vinci manifested itself in flexible poses and the grotesquely exaggerated facial expressions of the characters in the late works of the artist, such as the Grotesque Woman's Portrait (c. 1513, London, National Gallery).

Mussys also worked with Patinir; he painted several small details in his landscapes that make up the altar composition The Temptation of St. Anthony (1515–1524, Madrid, Prado). The portrait dipych of Massys depicting Erasmus of Rotterdam (Rome, Corsini Gallery) and Peter Gillis (Egidius) (Radnor, Salisbury Collection), created for Thomas More in 1517, reveals not only his skill as a portrait painter, but also spiritual closeness to humanists.

Genre works of the artist are moralizing in the spirit of Praise of stupidity of Erasmus of Rotterdam. The earliest genre work of the master, Menyal and his wife (1514, Paris, Louvre), illustrates the inscription made on the original frame of the painting: “Let the scales be true and the weight be exact.” The central part of the composition is occupied by the men and his wife; the husband is shown immersed in the work, and the wife seems to have just turned away from his richly decorated prayer book. With this focused on his people people, Masseys opposes the idle-talked people depicted in the background; The ideal of human activity, as he saw the artist, seems to be represented in the reflection in the mirror, located in the center in the foreground: he is a man immersed in reading the Bible, against the background of a church bell tower.

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