National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

Tour: Antwerp in the Early 1500s

Overview | Start Tour

image of The Rest on the Flight into Egypt
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Overview

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, artists from all over northern Europe were drawn to the booming prosperity of Antwerp, in modern Belgium. With the silting up of the harbor in neighboring Bruges and new alliances that brought the English cloth and Portuguese spice trades into the city, Antwerp became the mercantile hub of Europe, where goods from the East, the New World, and the Old World changed hands. The city's cosmopolitan population, wealthy as well as diverse, was a magnet for artists and encouraged experimentation. Painters were little constrained by tradition, since Antwerp had never before attracted important artists. To satisfy their patrons' varied tastes, painters explored new subjects and worked in many different styles, sometimes self-consciously borrowing from the past, at other times taking new inspiration from Renaissance Italy.

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chronology


Captions

1.
1Jan Gossaert, Saint Jerome Penitent [left panel], c. 1509/1512
2Jan Gossaert, Portrait of a Merchant, c. 1530
3Joos van Cleve, Joris Vezeleer, probably 1518
4Quentin Massys, Ill-Matched Lovers, c. 1520/1525
5Antwerp 16th Century (Possibly Matthys Cock), The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine, c. 1540
6Follower of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, c. 1550/1575
2.
7Maerten van Heemskerck, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, c. 1530