1610 Hondius Pictorum

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Quentin Matsys engraving

23. Quentin Matsys

Before I used to be a Cyclopean smith, but when a wooing painter began to love on an equal footing with me, and the cautious girl objected to me that she liked the heavy thundering of hammers less than the silent paintbrush, love made me a painter.  A tiny hammer, which is the sure note of my paintings, alludes to this.  Thus, when Venus had asked Vulcan for arms for her son, you, greatest of poets, made a painter out of a smith. Continue Reading 23. Quentin Matsys


Jan van Amstel engraving

29. Jan van Amstel

The proper praise of Belgians is to paint fields well; that of Italians to paint men or gods.  Nor is it surprising: not without reason is the Italian said to have his brain in his head, [while] the Belgian [has his] in his active hand. Jan’s hand, then, preferred to paint fields well, than for his head to know poorly either men or gods. Continue Reading 29. Jan van Amstel


Pieter Coecke van Aelst engraving

31. Pieter Coecke van Aelst

You were a painter, but, Pieter, you were not only a painter, you who made your Aelst more known to the world by this skill.  But there was much skill in addition, born to you by much labour.  Its office was to build beautiful houses.  Serlio taught this to the Italians, then you, bilingual interpreter of Serlio, taught the Belgians and the French. Continue Reading 31. Pieter Coecke van Aelst


Jan Vermeyen engraving

33. Jan Vermeyen

“What men, what places and what cities has Vermeyen not painted? –– and whatever the world, far and wide, has worth seeing –  while he followed you on land and sea, Emperor Charles, to paint the mighty deeds of your hand. These soon shone in gold with Attalian embroidery, although the artist’s hand was greater than the material. Nor did he provide a sight less pleasing to you than his art – [he was] remarkable for his high forehead, [and] was ordered to show off the unhidden folds of his rich beard, hanging down to his feet.” Continue Reading 33. Jan Vermeyen


Mathys Cock engraving

35. Mathys Cock

You too, Matthias, knew how to paint fields in such a way, that our age has scarcely produced your equal.  Therefore, if you too are considered among the artists whom Belgium honours with immortal praise, not only fraternal piety grants this to you, but also the praise justly due to your skill. Continue Reading 35. Mathys Cock


Henri Met De Bles engraving

37. Henri Met de Bles

The Eburonian city had produced the painter of Dinant,  the painter of whom the poet spoke in recent verses.  The most favourable site of his homeland had made him entirely an artist, and a master hardly taught him.  Tiny Bouviges was jealous of this its neighbour’s glory and produced Hendrik, learned in painting fields.  But, Joachim,  as much as tiny Bouviges yields to Dinant [in size], so much does Hendrik yield to you. Continue Reading 37. Henri Met de Bles


Jan van Scorel engraving

41. Jan van Scorel

Through all centuries I shall be said to have been the first to have taught by my example the excellent Belgians to be envious of Rome in painting.  For he is not worthy of the honour of a true artist, who does not use up a thousand pencils and pigments, and paint pictures in that school. Continue Reading 41. Jan van Scorel