Flemish painting and De Jonckheere Gallery's old master paintings


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Flemish painting is present in the world's greatest museums and has always aroused a special interest and passion among collectors.

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Jan Massys

Rebus: The world feeds many fools

Rebus: The world feeds many fools
Panel - 38 x 48 cm


Christian Dior Collection, Château de la Colle Noire;

Then by inheritance, Catherine Dior.


The painter of Merry company, Jan Matsys excels in the art of the rebus with this...

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Literature : Buijnsters Smet, Jan Massys, Een Antwerps Schilder Uit de Zestiende Eeuw, Wanders, 2005.

More informations

1509 - Antwerp – c. 1573


The son of Quentin Matsys, Jan worked in his father’s studio until the latter’s death. He registered with the guild in 1539 by which time, he was known to have had several pupils already. He married his cousin Anna Tuylt in 1538 but was accused of heresy and banished in 1544. He then set off for Italy, working in Genoa in 1550 and seemingly returning to Antwerp in 1558, where he lived until his death. Jan Matsys’ pupils included Frans Tuylt, Frans de Witte and Olivier de Cuyper. Upon his return from Italy, he was one of the artists to bring Primatice’s mannerism to Flanders. He became well known after this exile, painting romantic, biblical and mythological subjects.


His art is comprised of influences from Italy and Antwerp. Sometimes close to the style of the Fontainebleau school, he nevertheless developed a personal style. His ‘merry company’ paintings are what made him successful, and his father’s legacy can be felt in the realism of the characters and their accentuated features; Merry Company (Cherbourg), the Ill-matched Lovers (Antwerp), the Farmers with the lord (Dresden).


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