Quentin Massys (also: Matsys, Metsys) was the most important Antwerp artist of the first half of the XVI century.
Massys was born in Louvain c.1465/66 and probably completed his training there under the influence of Bouts. We know nothing about his early work.
After having settled in Antwerp he was admitted to the Antwerp St. Lukas Guild. He belonged to the circle of the humanists Petrus Aegidius and Erasmus, and was certainly influenced by their ideas. It is not known whether Massys traveled to Italy to study art there, as was fashionable even in his time, but his work, which is based on the Flemish tradition, also revealed Italian influences (particularly those of Leonardo da Vinci). The central element in Massys’s work is man. Hence his interest and talent for portraiture, which he sometimes used as the starting point for genre paintings. Thomas More called Massys “the renovator of the old art”.
The painter died in Antwerp in 1530.
Painting of Europe. XIII-XX centuries. Encyclopedic Dictionary. Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1999.