The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters



Search:: Artists Alphabetically   Artists by Country   Artists by Century   Artists by Movement

Quentin Massys also known as Quentin Massys or Kwinten Metsys

 1466?- 1530

One of the Greatest Painters Of All Time

Flemish Northern  Renaissance Painter

Stylistically influenced by the following painters Jan Van Eyke, Hieronymus Bosch and Dirk Bouts

Cause of Death - unknown

Quentin Massys paintings are  best known for their razor sharp wit and  skill at capturing the absurdity of society. His paintings, even after five hundred years, are bitingly clever. He infused his art with a strong sense of moralizing overtones, comedy and satire. Massys absorbed theNetherlandish artistic traditions and influence, reinterpreting them in original and often outrageous ways. He painted a range of subjects, excelling in humorous portraiture and social satire.

According to art expert, Richard Muther, Ph.D., "Quentin massys, the "smith of Antwerp" introduced the reform into the Netherlands. According to the legend he only became a painter because his sweetheart would not marry a smith; and although this sounds quite improbable, in the story, as in all legends their lies a certain logical justification. When people used to the highly detailed brushwork of the old masters saw his mighty and broad technique, they necessarily sought for an explanation of this change in style and found it in the supposition that the creator of these works had originally been a smith; a with heavy fists and great swinging movements, who introduced something of the vigor of his former trade into this new profession. "

The 15th century was a time of  great intellectual and spiritual awakening.  French, German, and Netherlandish painters took leadership in the development of a new style of painting while retaining strong Gothic elements within their art-work. The political and religious situation of the region had a profound influence on painters. The ensuing chaos and upheaval of the church meant that there was no single artistic nucleus. Thus there were a number of places where influential art was being created, with regional variations in technique and style.

The early 1500s  saw the demise of feudalism and patronage shifted from super wealthy church to the merchant class.  Businessmen, tradesmen and prosperous women of the merchant class began collecting and commissioning works of art. These new patrons favored paintings that included domestic scenes, peasants at work and play, fantastical landscapes, dogs, cats, birds, children and household goods.

Italian painters of the era were very interested in the techniques of the Northern painters. Oil painting was discovered in the North and spread quickly to Italy, France and Spain. Artists from the North sometimes encountered trouble when working abroad. Legendary Northern Renaissance painter, Albrecht Dürer complained about his treatment in Italy "The painters here you must know are very unfriendly to me. They have summoned me three times before the magistrates, and I have had to pay 4 florins to their School. You must know too that I might have gained much money if I had not undertaken to make the painting for the Germans, for there is a great deal of work in it and I cannot well finish it before Whitsuntide; yet they only pay me 85 ducats for it. That, you know, will go in living expenses, and then I have bought some things, and have sent some money away, so that I have not much in hand now; but I have made up my mind not to leave here until God enables me to repay you with thanks and to have too florins over besides. I should easily earn this if I had not got to do the German picture, for, except the painters, everyone wishes me well.."

Important Words, People, Phrases, Chactoristics related to the Northern Renaissance Art Movement -  allegorical, Gospel parables,  rebirth, 1 point perspective, Hieronymus Bosch, Limbourg Brothers, Robert Campin, Jan Van Eyck, Jean Fouquet, formation of a merchant class, glazing, impasto, scriptorium, illuminator, invention of the printing press, woodcuts, engravings, Antwerp, commerce, Northern Europe,  Bruges, mythological scenes, genre painting, landscapes, portraits, moralizing overtones, human vices, lust, Protestant Reformation, paradise, spirituality, piousness, living a simple life, reformHuman Reasoning,  merchant class at work, idyllic scenes of peasantsplaying games, feasting,  linear perspectiveHeliocentric Theory,  spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscriptidealized biblical themes, scriptorium, emotion, illuminator,  iconoclast, Age of Discovery, Virgin and Child, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and lightBonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath,  Christian symbolism

Require more facts and information about famous Dutch painter Quentin Massys?  Dig around every nook and cranny of the known universe for information this subject. Search Here



© If you like this page and wish to share it, you are welcome to link to it, with our thanks. updated 2017

If you feel you have worthwhile information you would like to contribute we would love to hear from you. We collect essential biographical information and artist quotes from folks all over the globe and appreciate your participation. When submitting please, if possible, site the source and provide English translation. Email to