CLEVE, van, Flemish family of painters

Joos van Cleve, although not an innovator on the scale of Jan Gossart or Joachim Patinir, was nevertheless one of the most important artists working in Antwerp in the first decades of the 16th century. He combined technical fluency with sensitivity to colour in a wide range of subjects reflecting the diverse needs and issues of Antwerp's artistic, social and mercantile milieu. The images he created particularly those of the Virgin and Child and the Holy Family were influential throughout most of the 16th century. In the course of the 17th and 18th centuries knowledge of Joos's work and reputation was greatly obscured and diminished, owing to the confusion between the lives of Joos and his son, the painter Cornelis van Cleve, who went mad.

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