Matsys, Quintin

, an eminent artist, was born at Antwerp, in 1460, and for several years followed the trade of a blacksmith or farrier, at least till he was in his twentieth year. Authors vary in their accounts of the cause of his quitting his first occupation, and attaching himself to the art of painting, some attributing it to his falling in love with the daughter of a painter; others to the accidental sight of a piece of art. Whatever may have been his motive, it is certain that he appears to have had an uncommon talent: his manner was singular, not resembling the manner of any other master; and his pictures were strongly coloured, and carefully finished, though somewhat dry and hard. By many competent judges it was believed, when they observed the strength of expression in some of his compositions, that if he had been acquainted with the great masters of the Roman school, he would have proved one of the most eminent painters of the Low Countries. But he only imitated ordinary life, and seemed more inclined, or at least more qualified, to imitate the defects than the beauties of nature. Some | historical compositions of this master deserve commendation particularly a Descent from the Cross, which is in the cathedral at A ntwerp, justly admired for the spirit, skill, and delicacy of the whole. Sir Joshua Reynolds says there are heads in this picture not excelled by Raphael. But the most remarkable and best known picture of Matsys, is that of the Two Misers in the gallery at Windsor, which has been engraved. Of this there is a duplicate at Hagley, the seat of lord Lyttleton. Matsys died in 1529, aged sixty-nine. — He had a son, John Matsys, who was born at Antwerp, and became his father’s disciple. He painted in the same style and manner, but not with a reputation equal to his father; though many of his pictures are sold to unskilful purchasers, for the paintings of Quintin. His most frequent subject was the representation of misers counting their gold, or bankers examining and weighing it, very common occurrences when Antwerp was in her glory. 1

1 Descamps, vol. I. Pllkington. Sir J. Reynolds’s Works. Bullart, Academic des Sciences, who seems to adopt the love story.