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Cornelius de Vos, Belgian 1584-1651
At one time mentioned together with Rubens and Van Dyck, Cornelius de Vos was considered one of the finest Flemish portrait painters of the early 17th century. He was born in Hulst and in 1596 his parents moved to Antwerp. There de Vos studied with David Reemus, a painter of religious subjects, from 1596 to 1604. After several years of travel, the artist found his career centered on the area of Antwerp. There he joined the painter’s guild in 1608, serving as its dean in 1619 and 1620.
De Vos painted a small number of religious and mythological works but was known as a portraitist, especially of children. His gift seemed to be for observation, which found its best expression in an area that demanded objectivity. Although he painted somewhat in the manner of Van Dyck, who was also a close friend, he was without the aristocratic refinement of that artist. De Vos appealed primarily to the wealthy middle class for, being basically conservative, he tended toward presenting a reserved dignity.
Apparently de Vos’ reputation was of high regard as he is known to have collaborated with the artist Joedaens and also Rubens on large commissions. Publicly, the artist became a Burger of Antwerp in 16716, and was also active as an art dealer in Antwerp and Paris.
Biography excerpted from the unpublished catalog by Edward P. Bentley for the Haussner Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, titled: Haussner’s, The Children.