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Joos van Cleve portraits

As well as the wiriness of the painter's beard, the blue veins that snake beneath his wife's skin display van Cleve's penchant for delicacy. A contemporary of Quentin Matsys in Antwerp, the artist spent time in France painting portraits for the court of François I. He may have also visited Italy, apparent from such stylistic elements as the use of sfumato – meaning a softness or blurring of definition –  in this portrait pair, reminiscent of the work of Leonardo da Vinci.

Cat. 3 & 4