* 1516 Antwerpen
† 1570 Antwerpen
Frans Floris is regarded one of the predominant representatives of Flemish Mannerism in painting and especially in graphic art.
The artist, who was later known as the “Flemish Rafael” was born in Antwerp around 1516. He presumably received initial training in sculpting from his father Cornelis Floris, before he was trained in painting by Lambert Lombard in Liége. After he had completed his training, he was accepted by the Antwerp gild of St. Luke in 1640.
In the following Frans Floris went south of the Alps: Between 1541 and 1547 he traveled to Italy for study purposes. In 1547, back in Antwerp, he seems to have founded his own workshop, which soon grew and prospered. Frans Floris made the Italian style popular in Flemish Mannerism through his large studio. Slim elongated figures with small heads and strong brightness contrasts characterize Frans Floris´ Italian Mannerism.
Besides paintings, the stock was greatly reduced by iconoclasm, the oeuvre comprises numerous virtuous engraver´s models. Executed by specialists like Cornelis Bos, Philip Galle or Cornelis Cort and published by Hieronymus Cock, Frans Floris style was soon widely spread. It especially was the close contact with the publisher Cock that enabled Frans Floris to use the medium of graphic art in an unimagined extent. Between 1550 and 1570 Frans Floris supplied almost every established Dutch engraver with models. Next to these hand drawings, the graphic artists also used Frans Flori´s paintings as basis for their works.
Frans Floris was also active as graphic artist himself: His monumental engraving "Victoria Surrounded by Prisoners and Trophies of War" from 1552 delivers proof of Frans Floris mastery in graphic art.
In 1570 Frans Floris died in Antwerp as one of the most influential artists of his generation.