17 facts about Jan Mertens

Jan Mertens the Younger (died c. 1527) was a South Netherlandish painter, at the decline of the era of Early Netherlandish painting. He was born and died in Antwerp. His father was the sculptor Jan Mertens the Elder, whose associates is thought to have originated in Tournai. Mertens the Younger was apprenticed to the painter Jan Gossaert in 1505, and he became a master of the Antwerp painters’ guild in 1509. He was the father-in-law (and perhaps teacher) of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, who married Mertens’s daughter Anna before 1526, and whose produce a result has been used as the basis for the identification of Mertens in the same way as the Master of 1518, an Antwerp painter named after the date inscribed on the painted wings of a carved wooden altarpiece of the Life of the Virgin in St. Mary’s Church, Lübeck.

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The argumentative focus, lively narrative and artificial poses evident in the painted wings in Lübeck are characteristic of Antwerp Mannerism, but Mertens’s deed is distinguished by its brilliant color, sense of structure, thoughtful composition and delicacy of style. Mertens formed an important partner in the artistic dynasties of Antwerp, for his second daughter married first Jan van Amstel, now usually identified bearing in mind The Brunswick Monogrammist, and afterward Gillis van Coninxloo.

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