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Flemish, c. 1561/1562 - 1636
Geeraerts, Marcus the Younger
Marcus Gheeraerts was born in Bruges in 1561 or 1562, and was brought to England in 1568 by his father, a painter of whose work hardly anything is known. Trained by his father and perhaps also a pupil of Lucas de Heere, Marcus produced his first surviving inscribed portrait in 1593; by this date, however, he was already under the powerful patronage of the royal pageant master, Sir Henry Lee. In 1590 Gheeraerts married Magdalena, the sister of the painter John De Critz. The couple had six children, only two of whom seemed to have survived.
Gheeraerts was the most distinguished and most fashionable portraitist of the 1590s, and continued to be after Elizabeth's death, becoming the favorite painter of James I's queen, Anne of Denmark. He received a grant of naturalization in 1618, and was still royal "picture drawer" in that year, when he received his last recorded payments for royal portraits. During the second half of the 1610s, however, Gheeraert's position declined as the result of competition from a new generation of immigrants. For the last twenty years of his life he was supported chiefly by the lesser gentry and by academic sitters. Gheeraerts was a member of the Court of the Painter-Stainers' Company in the 1620s and had an apprentice, Ferdinando Clifton, who was made free of the Company in 1627. Gheeraerts died on 19 January 1636.
[Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 111.]