MASSYS (METSYS), Flemish family of artists

Quentin Massys, who spelt his surname variously, was the leading painter of early 16th-century Antwerp. He was the son of a Leuven blacksmith, Joost Massys (d. 1483), and his wife, Katharina van Kinckem. Joost Massys is known to have executed commissions for the new Leuven Stadhuis (1448–63), one of the most ornate town halls in the Netherlands, as well as other work for the Leuven authorities, and to have been superintendent of the chapel belonging to the Leuven metalsmiths' Guild of St Eligius. There is reason to believe that Joost came originally from Antwerp, where his own father, Hendrik Massys, is documented as early as 1425. About 1492 Quentin married Alyt van Tuylt (d. 1507), by whom he had three children: Quinten, Pawel and Katelijne. He was by then already living in Antwerp. In 1508 he married Catherina Heyns, with whom he had ten more children: Jan Massys and Cornelis Massys, as well as Quinten II, Maria, Hubrecht, Abraham, Peternella, Katelijne II, Sara and Susannah. Both Jan and Cornelis became artists but were still under the age of majority at the time of their father's death, of the 'sweating sickness' (plague).