FLORIS, Frans

(1515-1570)
Frans Floris was the most influential history painter of his time in the Spanish Netherlands. He was a member of a family of artists from Antwerp, but he trained in the Romanist workshop of Lambert Lombard in Liege, where he learned to paint in the fashionable, monumental "Italian manner." Floris returned to Antwerp, which had a thriving art market, to set up his own workshop in 1540. His brother Cornelis became a successful Antwerp sculptor and architect.
In Antwerp Floris ran a busy workshop with many assistants organized along highly cooperative lines. His Romanist style was much admired in Italy as well as in the Netherlands. His figures are idealized and heroic and are strongly influenced by such works as Michelangelo's* Last Judgment wall of the Sistine Chapel, which he saw and studied at its unveiling in 1541 when visiting Rome. His colors too show a probable Venetian influence.
A good example of Floris's style is his own Last Judgment of 1565, where every figure is highly idealized and contorted, muscles bulging and straining. While he did not overpopulate nor distort to the extent of the more Mannerist painters, he did use extreme foreshortening as well as some elongation of forms to create exciting, if unbelievable, scenes.
Frans Floris was regarded as an "official" painter, capable of executing de­manding civic commissions for the decoration of public buildings. His subject matter was varied, primarily history paintings based on classical themes, in­cluding mythology, allegory, and religion. He was also sought after for his portraits, one of the best known of which is the charming Falconer's Wife of 1558. Finally, Karel van Mander, the Dutch biographer, wrote that many an aspiring young Antwerp painter was trained by Frans Floris.
Bibliography
C. Cuttler, Northern Painting from Pucelle to Bruegel, 1968.
Rosemary Poole

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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