Karel Van Mander

Learn about KAREL VAN MANDER (1548-1606) artist,their past and upcoming works offered at auction at Christie's

Born into a wealthy family in Meulebeke in Flanders, Karel van Mander was given a humanist education which included the study of poetry and painting. He studied first with Lucas de Heere (circa 1534–1584) and then with Pieter Vlerick (1539–1581) and proved to be an accomplished draughtsman. His style was heavily influenced by that of Bartholomeus Spranger (1546–1611), whom he met during a four-year tour of Italy. On his return to the Netherlands, van Mander joined an informal circle of artists in Haarlem, among whom were Hendrick Goltzius (q.v.), Jacques de Gheyn II (q.v.) and Abraham Bloemaert (q.v.), who together developed a distinctive form of mannerism informed by their mutual admiration for Spranger’s elegantly contorted poses and the classicist tradition of Academies such as that run by the Zuccari in Rome. Van Mander’s greatest contribution to the history of art, however, is through his writing: he is most famous for his Schilderboeck, a series of biographies of 15th and 16th century Dutch and Flemish artists inspired by the example of Vasari, which was published in 1604, shortly before his death.

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