(b Antwerp, c. 1526–28; d Antwerp, before 1584). South Netherlandish painter, draughtsman, engraver and publisher. He was the son of the sculptor Balten Janszoon de Costere (fl 1524). In 1550 he became a master in the Guild of St Luke in Antwerp and in 1569 its dean. Primarily on the authority of van Mander, Baltens was long considered to be an inferior imitator of Pieter Bruegel the elder. Baltens's best-known work, the signed St Martin's Day Kermis (e.g. versions Amsterdam, Rijksmus.; Antwerp, Kon. Mus. S. Kst.), was formerly thought to be a free copy after Bruegel's treatment of the subject, known through an engraving and the Gift of St Martin, a fragment on cloth (Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.). The relationship between Baltens and Bruegel is, however, more complicated. In 1551 they collaborated on an altarpiece (destr.) for the Mechelen Glovemakers. Baltens's other works, for example the Ecce homo (Antwerp, Kon. Acad. S. Kst.), reveal that the two artists were closely associated: a group from the Ecce homo reappears as an independent painting (Brussels, A. de Heuvel priv. col.) by Bruegel's son and imitator Pieter Bruegel the younger.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Renaissance Art.