Painting, Visual Artist
Who is Petrus Christus?
Petrus Christus was an Early Netherlandish painter active in Bruges from 1444, where, along with Hans Memling, he became the leading painter after the death of Jan van Eyck. He was influenced by van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden and is noted for his innovations with linear perspective and a meticulous technique which seems derived from miniatures and manuscript illumination. Today, some 30 works are confidently attributed to him. The best-known include the 1446 Portrait of a Carthusian and c. 1470 Berlin Portrait of a Young Girl, both are highly innovative in presentation of the figure against detailed, rather than flat, backgrounds.
Christus was an anonymous figure for centuries, his importance not established until the work of modern art historians. Giorgio Vasari barely mentions him in his biographies of painters, written in the Renaissance, and near contemporary records merely list him amongst many others. In the early to mid 19th century Gustav Waagen and Johann David Passavant were important in establishing Christus's biographical details and in attributing works to him.
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