91. Gillis Mostaert

Gillis Mostaert etching

Etching and engraving
Signed ‘Hh excud.’ by Hendrick Hondius, attributed to Simon Frisius

20.3 x 12.5 cm

Transcription of Inscription:

Nomine Mostarti duo sunt, fratrésque gemelli,
     Arte pares, vultu, moribus, ingenio.
Gilius inventor felix, laetúsque color1:
     Sic color in verbis, et sine felle sales.

Translation of Inscription:

Gillis Mostaert of Flanders, painter 
There are two twin brothers by the name of Mostaert.  They are equal in skill, appearance, morals and genius.2 Gillis is a lucky inventor,3 rejoicing in colour.  Thus there is colour4 in his words, and wit without bile.

Orenstein 1996, Frisius no. 152; Hollstein 2008 no.172
 Karel Van Mander’s biography of Gillis Mostaert 
 Grove Art Online biography


  1. Sic.  The ‘e’ of “colore” is written in pencil only. I translate “colore”.
  2. “moribus ingenio” – the same combination at 121. Otto van Veenand in patristic and medieval Latin.  Like this poem, van Veen’s text adds “arte” to the combination.
  3. “inventor felix” – the same phrase in the text for 127. Jacques de Gheyn.
  4. Latin speaks of “colour” in someone’s speech, meaning inventiveness and liveliness.  The term can be either laudatory or derogatory.