Maerten DE VOS
(Antwerp 1532 - Antwerp 1603)
The Death of Lucretia
The outlines partially indented for transfer.
Inscribed Mart de Vos / fec. on the verso.
133 x 110 mm. (5 1/4 x 4 3/8 in.)
De Vos also designed another engraving of the The Death of Lucretia, different in composition, which was executed by Hieronymus Wierix and intended as a companion to two other prints of Cleopatra and Sophonisba, designed by Philips Galle.
The popularity of Marten de Vos’s designs, and the prints made after them, among other contemporary printmakers is shown by an engraved design for the metal tip of a dagger sheath by Theodor de Bry (1528-1598), which incorporates at its centre the identical figure of Lucretia.
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.