Jan Gossaert (c. 1478 – 1532), also known as Jan Mabuse, was a Flemish painter best known for introducing Italian art styles to the Netherlands. He was a notable portrait artist and worked for Philip of Burgundy. An early trip to Italy had great influence on his work and he adopted ideas from classical art, ornate and Romanist styles in his later works. He is best known for statuesque nudes, numerous Madonna and Child renditions, and many portraits which are particularly notable for their expressive depiction of hands. Our pattern set collection contains many of his works including Danae, Hercules and Deianira, Lady Portrayed As Mary Magdalene, Adam and Eve, Man with a Rosary, Madonna and Child, Neptune and Amphitrite, Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon, and a self portrait.

Patterns Included In This Set:


Self Portrait

Portrait of Hendrik III

Three Children of Christian II of Denmark


Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon

Hercules and Deianira



Portrait of Francisco de los Bebes y Molina

Isabella of Spain and Denmark

Portrait of a Merchant


A Young Princess

The Virgin and Child with White Lily and Cherries

Portrait of a Man


The Holy Family

Lady Portrayed As Mary Magdalene

The Holy Family


Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child


Maagd en kind

Portrait of Baudouin of Burgundy

Adam and Eve


An Elderly Couple

Man with a Rosary

Adam and Eve


Venus and the Mirror

Neptune and Amphitrite

Diptych of Jean Carondelet

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There once lived an artistic trailblazer named Robert Delaunay. He had a unique perspective, a countercultural technique, and a desire that drove him to be different.

The timeless style found in Jan Gossaert's (1478 - 1532) paintings precedes him and defines him. Only a few of his most poignant works exist today, and the information that remains about his personal life is significantly limited. Even his correct name is shrouded with mystery; he was also known as Jan Mabuse or Jennyn van Hennegouwe. But nearly five centuries since his death, he is commonly called Jan Gossaert.

Even though a small number of his commissions survived throughout the years and little commentary about him surfaced from contemporary artists, Gossaert has been revered as one of the greatest painters of antiquity and regarded (in the 1500s) as the "nostrae aetatis Apellum" or the "Appelles of our age." (Apelless of Kos was an infamous Grecian painter from the middle of the second century.)

It is believed that Gossaert's style developed as he mimicked great artists who came before him. All the while, the work he produced greatly influenced artists who followed in his footsteps.

As with many Renaissance artists, Gossaert concentrated on biblical themes. Specifically, he painted scenes that depicted Adam and Eve, the Virgin and Child and the Crucifixion. He also breathed life into mythological themes and painted many of his characters nude. In doing this, it appears Gossaert approached painting historical and mythological figures with the fine detail and acuity of a sculptor.

In addition to the detail he put into painting characters, he also concentrated on the architectural backgrounds of his paintings. They often included many large, detailed structures and ornate décor.

Much of his style is believed to come from the time he spent training at the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp. Antwerp was known for producing artists that had stylistic traits including, "...cluttered compositions, fantastic architecture, elegant, exaggerated poses of attenuated figures, swirling draperies, and excessive embellishments of all kinds."

Many of Gossaert's paintings appear to take the traits of other famous artists like Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling. It is possible that Memling inspired Gossaert's portraits of Mary Magdalen and Jean Carondelet.

Before being commissioned by Philip of Burgundy, who asked him to paint murals for the church of Middleburg among other things, Gossaert had a well-known piece hang on the high altar of Tongerlo Abbey; it was titled, "Descent from the Cross." While working for Philip of Burgundy, Gossaert accompanied him on a trip to Italy where he adopted many stylistic techniques of the Leonardeques. Because of this, it is believed journeying to Italy became customary for many Flemish painters.

Three signed paintings survived from the time closely following Gossaert's trip to Italy. They include Neptune and Amphitrite of 1516, the Madonna, and a portrait of Jean Carondelet of 1517.

After the death of Philip of Burgundy in 1524 he found himself connected to Henry III and his wife Mencía de Mendoza. Some of Gossaert's most famous work may have found its way into Mendoza's art collections. For instance, in one of her inventories, Virgin and Child in a Landscape of 1531 may have been titled as "Joanyn de Marbug." Also, Christ on the Cold Stone of 1530 was believed to be in her possession, too.

When looking for information about Jan Gossaert in established art resources, it is hard to find agreeable facts. What is certain about this Flemmish painter is the style he used and the paintings he brought to life. Like other Renaissance painters, Gossaert's work has been etched into history. Today, his work inspires artists by showing his grandiose approach to architecture, care for ornate details and statuesque characters.

Many facts about Jan Gossaert's life remain a mystery but in legacy he lives on as a great painter of antiquity.


Metropolitan Museum of Art

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