Cornelis Engebrechtsz

Cornelis Engebrechtsz, also known as Engelbrechtsz, (1462 – 1527 born and died in Leiden), is a Dutch artist and painter of Flemish origin, renowned for his painting of history and his religious compositions. Formed in Flanders in Antwerp, this precious master directs and animates an increasingly important workshop in Leiden, where the Flemish graphic traditions are freely mixed, the Christian and pathetic inspiration of the ending Gothic, the Italian artistic research and even the technical innovations of the Graphic arts. The old Dutch authors suspect this original colourist, anxious to create lively tones and rare chords, to have been one of the first users of the oil color in his country.

Engebrechtsz. was the first painter in Leiden to whom work can be attributed with certainty. The first mention of Engebrechtsz. in the archives was in 1482, when he sold some work to the Hieronymusdal priory (also known as Lopsen) in Oegstgeest, near Leiden. He may have been trained as a painter in this monastery as well, although it is also quite possible that he received training in Brussels and Antwerp.

He painted primarily Biblical themes, like a triptych of the Lamentation of Christ and a triptych of the Crucifixion. Both were made for the Mariënpoel convent in Leiden and are now in Leiden’s city museum, Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal. He also received commissions from the Leiden city government. Engebrechtsz. had a large, prolific workshop where he produced devotional art, together with his sons and other pupils. Through his sons, his later work became more and more influenced by Mannerism, a popular style of painting in Antwerp at that time (see Antwerp Mannerism). This Mannerist influence is clearly visible in the two triptychs.

Ultimate conservative representative of Gothic mannerism, he lived and worked mainly in Leiden where he was born around 1465 and died around 1530. He contributed with his pupils to make his city a renowned center of art, fully rival of Antwerp .

The fact that his personal art is interpreted as a late manifestation, both precious and outdated, has contributed to obscuring the great formative role and the vast legacy he bequeaths to his pupils. The surname can be written according to disparate sources: Engelbertsz, Engelbrechtsen, Engelbrechtsz, Enghelbrechtsz …

The painter could be designated laconically under the name of Enghelbrecht the Elder. The Flemish historian of the painters of the North Carel van Mander simply designates it as Engebrechtsz.

In the discharge of historians of art, often hesitant, there remain uncertainties about the place and its dates of birth and death. He may have been born and died near the town of Leiden and his six long last years of bed-ridden without activity are perhaps imaginary. In 1499, the artisan of the Flemish community of the weaving city is part of the bourgeois guard of Leiden. He is then married and father of three children:

Pieter the elder Cornelisz born in 1490. Pieter Cornelisz says Kunst is mostly draftsman and painter on glass. He was also drapier, associated with his younger brother in Bruges. Died in 1560 or 1561.

Cornelis the younger Cornelisz, also known as Cornelis Kunst born in 1493. This painter has stayed in Bruges registered in the register of the cloth profession.
The little Lucas Cornelisz born in 1495. He is called Lucas Cornelisz de Ko (c) k because of his double profession of cook and painter, double activity that he would have exercised in England where he would have died around 1552.

However, it should be noted that the works of the sons are clearly less known, with attributions very subject to caution. It seems that the flourishing workshop was not taken up by the threads, which explains their roaming.

Cornelis Engebrechtsz was formed at the end of the 1480s by Colijn de Coter, an active archaic religious painter from 1479 to 1510 in the line of the Tournai school represented by Rogier van der Weyden and known to be the master of the gall of Antwerp painters In 1493. The master seems to have taken his apprentice on his journey, who was able to discover Flanders and Brabant, notably Brussels.

Young master, Cornelis specializes in dense compositions, elongated and nervous shapes, the fineness of drapery patterns, even the most fanciful decorative effects.

The master also known for his austere moralism and his great rigor in the preparation and execution at the workshop is attracted by a decorative art of Italian type. This careful draftsman, a conservative technician of the Franco-Flemish pictorial tradition of previous centuries, does not bridle the original and spiritual imagination of his pupils. He thus formed these threads and the best threads of Leyden artisans attracted by painting: Aertgen and Lucas de Leyde.

The Passion at the museum of Leiden and Helen and Constantine at the alte Pinacothek of Munich are works with religious themes that have preserved a recognition of the amateurs who later classified it in the last current of Gothic mannerism. But it is also worth noting his interest in portraits and landscapes.

Work by Engebrechtsz. is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Alte Pinakothek in Munich and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among others.