New Advent
 Home   Encyclopedia   Summa   Fathers   Bible   Library 
 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > C > Joost van Cleef

Joost van Cleef

(JOSSE VAN CLEVE).

The "Madman", a Flemish painter born in Antwerp c. 1520, died c. 1556. He was one of twenty van Cleefs who painted in Antwerp, but whether the well-known Henry, Martin, and William (the younger) were kin of his cannot be determined. Of his father, William (the elder), we know only that he was a member of he Antwerp Academy, which body Joost joined. Joost was a brilliant and luminous colourist, rivalling, in this respect, the Italians, whose methods he followed. Severity and hardness of outline somewhat marred his otherwise fine draughtsmanship. Portraiture in the sixteenth century was represented by Joost van Cleef; and Kugler places him, artistically, between Holbein and Antonio Moro, his "Portrait of a Man" in Munich (Pinakotheck) being long attributed to Holbin. He painted in France, England, and Germany. The celebrated portrait painter of Cologne, Bruyn, was a pupil. Imaging himself unappreciated, he went to Spain and was presented to Phillip II by Moro, the court painter.

Because Henry VIII, according to English authorities chose Titian's pictures in preference to his, van Cleef became infuriated, and his frenzy later developed into permanent insanity. The French contend that it was Philip, in Spain, who gave Titian the preference. The most distressing feature of Joost insanity was that he retouched and ruined his finished pictures whenever he could gain access to them, and his family finally had to place him under restraint. Beautiful altar-pieces by van Cleef are found in many Flemish churches, notably "The Last Judgment" (Ghent). Perhaps the most celebrated of his works is the "Baccus" (Amsterdam), whose young face is crowned with prematurely grey hair. "A Virgin" (Middleburg) is noteworthy as having a charming landscape for the background, a combination rare in those days. Other works are: "Portrait of the Painter and his wife", at Windor Castle; "Portrait of a Young Man", at Berlin; and "Portrait of a Man", at Munich.

About this page

APA citation. Hunt, L. (1908). Joost van Cleef. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04010e.htm

MLA citation. Hunt, Leigh. "Joost van Cleef." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04010e.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph P. Thomas.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

Copyright © 2009 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

CONTACT US