Frans Pourbus Atelier

Frans Pourbus II  (the youngest/II) 1569 – 1622
The life and work of Frans Pourbus II
Originally the Pourbus family comes from the Dutch province Brabant. His father Frans Pourbus (the eldest/I) is sent by his father (portrait painter Pieter Pourbus) to Antwerp to be an apprentice of an important Flemish artistic family, the de Vriendt family. Here Frans meets his wife Suzanne de Vriendt, the daughter of sculptor, architect and designer Cornelis Floris. They marry and Frans Pourbus II was born in the autumn of 1569.

When his mother died in 1576 and his father in 1581, grandfather Pieter took his grandson as a 12 year old boy in in his hometown of Bruges. He teaches Frans the profession of portrait painter. Grandpa is a portraitist in Bruges where he makes portraits of the wealthy citizens. When Frans also loses his grandfather at the age of 15, he is still too young to be able to become an independent Master. In all probability, Frans is further trained by Francken, one of his father’s colleagues who also worked in Floris Vriendt’s studio. The first signed work by Frans is a portrait of Frans Francken.

Frans Pourbus probably returned to Antwerp, where he draws the attention of the Brussels Court due to his talent as a portraitist of the rich and nobles of Antwerp. In 1591, Frans became a Master in Antwerp. Frans paints more detailed than his father and grandfather, more human. In 1599, Frans was commissioned by Archduke Albrecht and his wife Isabella to make portraits of them, but not in the style that Frans is accustomed to. They want the style from Spain, no emotion, rather stiff but with all its splendor. The colleagues from Spain had again taken over this style from the Utrecht Anthony Mor. As a result of these paintings, Frans became more and more conspicuous and was subsequently asked by various nobles at home and abroad to paint portraits of them as well. Frans, for example, ends up in Italy, where the Duke of Mantua asks Frans to immortalise his family. Frans also meets Peter Paul Rubens there and in both works the influence of the other becomes visible. The work of Frans is made livelier by the elaboration of the richly dressed clothing and jewellery.

In 1609 Frans was requested by the French queen, Maria de Medici, to paint a portrait of her and her family. In the end, Frans became court painter under Louis XIII.

Frans fell in love with Elisabeth Francken, daughter of Hieronymus Francken (study friend of Frans Pourbus the elder). They never married, but did have a daughter, Elisabeth Pourbus, in 1614. Frans dies in Paris on 19 February 1622.

Frans was an important portraitist in the development of Dutch portraiture during a period that passed from Renaissance to the 17th century Baroque period.
Would you like a masterpiece by Frans Pourbus on your wall?
Do you want one of Frans Pourbus’ masterpieces on your wall? Take a look at his paintings and choose your favorite painting in the desired size.