* ca. 1508 Antwerpen - nach 1584 Antwerpen
Cornelis Massys, one of the most important figures of Antwerp painting and graphic art of the 16th century, was born at Antwerp around 1510. He was second son of the famous Quentin Massys, who made his main works around this time.
Cornelis Massys presumably received first lessons in art from his father. In 1531 Cornelis Massys joined the Antwerp Gild of St. Luke as freelance master, together with his brother Jan Massys, who is just a bit more than a year older than him. At that time their father had already passed away.
In 1544 the brothers Massys were expelled from their hometown, because they were members of the reformed church. The path that Cornelis Matsys took in the following can not be reconstructed. However, it is known that Cornelis Massys was in Rome in 1562. As early as in 1558 Jan Massys, and presumably also Cornelis Massys, were allowed to return to Antwerp.
In his art, paintings, hand drawings and graphic works, at times signed or monogrammed ("CME"), Cornelis Metsys continued the style of his father. Different from Quentin Massys, however, Cornelis Massys focussed, even if not entirely, on landscapes. As far as that is concerned, Cornelis Massys stands in line with the tradition of Joachim Patinir, whose vast landscapes were continued by Cornelis Massys. Historical scenes as staffage can be found in Cornelis Massys' works, however, he took an independent approach towards landscape painting. Cornelis Messys' interest in landscape as an independent subject is also proven by his exact topographic city views, which were the earliest in Dutch art history (hand drawing, Brussels from the south).
Cornelis Massys died in his hometown Antwerp in 1562.