The Death of Lucretia

Maerten DE VOS (Antwerp, 1532 - Antwerp, 1603)


After first studying with his father, the painter Pieter de Vos, the young Marten de Vos completed his training in the studio of Frans Floris. Around 1551 he traveled to Rome, and later to Venice, where he worked as an assistant to Tintoretto for several years. Soon after his return to his native Antwerp in c.1558, de Vos was established as one of the leading painters in the city. He produced altarpieces for many churches in Antwerp in the 1590’s, most commissioned by the various guilds in the city. Many of his religious and history paintings were later engraved, and this served to spread his reputation throughout Flanders. Indeed, Marten de Vos may be regarded as arguably the most influential Flemish painter of the generation before Rubens.

A highly productive draughtsman, Marten de Vos was very active as a designer for print publishers such as Adriaen Collaert and Philips Galle, although he was not a printmaker himself. While most of the five hundred or so drawings by de Vos that survive are preparatory studies for prints, he is known to have designed many more, as a total of some 1,600 original engravings after his designs exist. Many of these date from the early 1580’s, when fewer commissions for religious paintings were available in Antwerp. His drawings were also sought after in their own right by collectors and fellow artists.