CLEVE, Joos van
(b. ca. 1485, Antwerpen, d. 1540, Antwerpen)


Joos van Cleve (Joose van der Beke) Netherlandish painter, born presumably at Cleves in the lower Rhine region and active mainly in Antwerp, where he became a master painter in 1511. He is identified with the Master of the Death of the Virgin. He was dean of the painters' guild in 1515 and 1525 and seems to have been one of the most productive Antwerp painters of his time, but his career is ill-defined. There is a flavour of Leonardo in some of his works, and he may have visited Italy. The dispassionate realism of his portraits owes something to the influence of Quentin Massys, but wide stylistic differences are apparent in his work as a whole.

Almost certainly he worked in France and there are several portraits of Francis I and his wife attributed to him, as is a portrait of Henry VIII of England (Royal Collection, Windsor). He collaborated with Joachim Patenier: a Rest on the Flight into Egypt (Musées Royaux, Brussels) is possibly a joint work. Joos's son, Cornelis van Cleve (1520-67), was also a painter. He was known as 'Sotte Cleve' (Mad Cleve) after becoming insane in 1554 - a result of failing to win the post of Court Painter to Philip II of Spain.