Cornelis de Vos

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Cornelis de Vos, Family portrait, 1631, 165 x 235 cm, Oil on canvas, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp

Cornelis de Vos (1584 – 9 May 1651) was a Flemish Baroque painter best known for his portraiture.


He was born in Hulst near Antwerp, now in the Dutch province of Zeeland. Little is known of his childhood. Cornelis and his younger brothers Paul and Jan studied under the little-known painter David Remeeus (1559–1626). De Vos joined the guild of Saint Luke in 1608 at the age of twenty-four, later serving as its dean in 1628. When he became a citizen of Antwerp in 1616 he listed his occupation as an art dealer.

His sister Margaretha married Frans Snyders, while Cornelis himself married Jan Wildens's half-sister Susanna Cock. He was the master of Jan Cossiers, Alexander Daemps and Simon de Vos (to whom he was not related).[1]

De Vos died in Antwerp, where he was buried in the cathedral.[2]


Cornelis de Vos, The Artist's Two Daughters, c. 1630–40, 78 × 92 cm, Oil on canvas, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Paul de Vos and Snyders were both animaliers, or painters of animals, and Wildens was known for his landscape. Cornelis did not share either of these specializations. Instead, he painted mythological, biblical and history scenes, still lifes and, in the late 1620s, some monumental genre paintings.

De Vos was most successful as a painter of individual and group portraits in which he developed his own style.[3]

His style closely follows that of Anthony van Dyck and, to a lesser extent, Peter Paul Rubens. De Vos worked frequently as a collaborator with Rubens. Around 1617 he painted two panels, the Nativity and the Presentation in the Temple, that were part of a series of paintings on the theme of the "Mystery of the Rosary Cycle" in which other local painters, including Rubens (who oversaw the project), van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens participated. De Vos' two paintings joined the 13 paintings made by these other painters in Antwerp's church of St. Paul where they were to flank Caravaggio's Madonna of the Rosary, which was placed in the church in 1620.[4]

In 1635, De Vos assisted Rubens on the joyous entry of Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand, a project for which he painted twelve royal portraits to Rubens's designs. Between 1636 and 1638 he worked again for Rubens, along with his brother Paul in decorating the Torre de la Parada, a hunting lodge of Philip IV of Spain near Madrid.[1]

Cornelis often collaborated with colleagues as was common in Antwerp at the time: he painted the staffage in still lifes by Frans Snyders and in return Snyders and his brother Paul painted the fruit, animals, silver plate and armour in his own work. Jan Wildens assisted with the landscapes in many of his works.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Katlijne Van der Stighelen and Arnout Balis. "Vos, de (i)." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 8 Mar. 2014.
  2. ^ Biographical details at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (Dutch)
  3. ^ Van der Stighelen, Katlijne. "Cornelis de Vos." Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press, [3 November 2007].
  4. ^ Sirjacobs, Raymond. Antwerpen Sint-Pauluskerk Rubens en de mysteries van de rozenkrans. Antwerp: Sint-Paulusvrienden, 2004

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