VOS, Marten de
(b. 1532, Antwerpen, d. 1603, Antwerpen)

St Luke Painting the Virgin Mary

Oil on panel, 270 x 217 cm
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

Maarten De Vos, who founded the fraternity of Romanists in Antwerp, was Frans Floris' best pupil and successor. His works are clear precursors of the 17th century Baroque. The Saint Luke painting the Virgin Mary is a late work by De Vos who died in 1603. His rich and varied use of colour might be attributable to the six years he spent in Florence, Rome and Venice (where he studied with Tintoretto); his paintings are clear, balanced and often symmetrical in composition, and despite his preference for shallow spaces, he succeeded in creating a strong sense of drama and plasticity. On the other hand, although a Lutheran for a long time, De Vos was also a figure-head of the Counter Reformation. The best evidence of this is to be found in the monumental scale of his works and his strict adherence to the iconographical precepts laid down by the Council of Trent.