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 Karel the Elder Van Mander  (1548 - 1606)

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Lived/Active: Austria      Known for: religious paintings

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Christie's London, King Street:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Now best known for his Schilderboeck, which included biographies of 15th- and 16th-Century Netherlandish artists, Karel van Mander was born into a wealthy family in Meulebeke in Flanders.  His humanistic education included the study of poetry and painting, first with Lucas de Heere (circa 1534-1584) and then with Pieter Vlerick (1539-1581), and he showed a marked talent as a draughtsman, though only forty of his drawings survive today. 

At the age of 25 he set off on a study tour of Italy that would last four years, taking him to Florence, Terni and Rome. There, in Rome, he met Bartholomeus Spranger (1546-1611), court painter to the Emperor Rudolf II, who would have a profound impact on van Mander's artistic style and who invited van Mander to return to Vienna with him.  When he eventually returned to the Netherlands, van Mander brought some of Spranger's drawings with him.

Settling in Haarlem, he became friends with Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) and Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem (1562-1638) who, like van Mander, were fascinated by the elegantly contorted figures and virtuoso poses which they saw in Spranger's art.  Taking inspiration from his drawings, they developed a homogenous Mannerist artistic style which was disseminated among other artists in their circle through a drawing school, now known as the Haarlem Academy.

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