Quentin Massys

(1466 - 1530)
Quentin Massys Portrait of a Man About 1510 - 1520


Massys was highly regarded in Antwerp, as a painter of religious subjects and portraits. He had moved there from Louvain at the end of the fifteenth century when Antwerp succeeded Bruges as an important artistic centre. Massys’s meticulous style and attention to detail developed from the artistic legacy of Van Eyck and Memling. He was, however, also influenced by artistic developments in Italy. His satirical and grotesque paintings reflect an awareness of similar subjects in Leonardo’s drawings and may be connected with Erasmus’s ‘Praise of Folly’. Massys’s portrait of Erasmus, of 1517, was given to Sir Thomas More.

Glossary terms

  • A period in European culture from the 14th to the 16th centuries in which the visual arts flourished with advances in the treatment of anatomy and the use of perspective. It is particularly associated with Italy, where it began, though the term applies elsewhere. It is noted for a revival of interest in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.