GHEERAERTS, Marcus the Younger:
Flemish Baroque Era Painter, ca.1561-1636
was an artist of the Tudor court, described as "the most important artist of quality to work in England in large-scale between Eworth and Van Dyck" He was brought to England as a child by his father Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, also a painter. He became a fashionable portraitist in the last decade of the reign of Elizabeth I under the patronage of her champion and pageant-master Sir Henry Lee, introducing a new aesthetic in English court painting that captured the essence of a sitter through close observation. He became a favorite portraitist of James I's queen Anne of Denmark, but fell out of fashion in the later 1610s. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger was the son of the artist Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder and his wife Johanna. Hardly anything is known of the paintings of the elder Gheeraerts, although his work as a printmaker reached around Europe. Like other Protestant artists, Gheeraerts the Elder fled to England with his son to escape persecution in the Netherlands under the Duke of Alva. His wife was a Catholic and remained behind; she is assumed to have died a few years later. Father and son are recorded living with a Dutch servant in the London parish of St Mary Abchurch in 1568. On 9 September 1571, the elder Gheeraerts remarried. His new wife was Susanna de Critz, a member of an exiled family from Antwerp. It is uncertain by whom young Marcus was trained, although it is likely to have been his father; he was possibly also a pupil of Lucas de Heere. Records suggest that Marcus was active as a painter by 1586 In 1590 he married Magdalena, the sister of his stepmother Susanna and of the painter John de Critz.