Mabuse Jan Gossaert - Flemish School


MABUSE (JAN GOSSAERT) was born in the Flemish town of Mabeuse from which he took his name. His life was spent in Antwerp where, at the age of 31, he became Master of the Guild of St. Luke. After a residence of some years in Antwerp, Mabuse entered the service of Philip, bastard of Philip the Good of Burgundy. This service was to have an unfortunate effect upon the school of art which had achieved important national distinction through the work of the Van Eycks. In 1508 Mabuse accompanied Philip to Italy where he acquired those influences which were not only to alter the character of his own art but establish Italy as the field of study for the Flemish painters.

Vasari, knowing of Mabuse's earlier work by hearsay, wrote of the progress that the painter had made in "the true method of producing pictures full of nude figures and poesies," though the pictures as we know them hardly justify that well-meant praise.

Mabuse's later work is of greater distinction, though it is felt that his chief claim to recognition rests on his craftsmanship. He was much in favor with the wealthy patrons of his day, being once commissioned by Christian II of Denmark to paint the portraits of his dwarfs. At the death of Philip, Mabuse designed and erected his tomb. It was under the patronage of Philip's successor, about the year 1534, that Mabuse died.

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