English family of painters of Flemish origin. John de Critz I (b Antwerp, 1551–2; d London, bur 14 March 1642) was brought to England as an infant in 1552. In or about 1567 he was apprenticed to the Flemish Mannerist painter Lucas de Heere (see Heere, de (1)), then resident in England. De Critz stayed with him for at least four years; it was probably de Heere who introduced him to the statesman Sir Francis Walsingham (?1530–90), for whom he worked in Paris (and perhaps in Italy) on at least six occasions (1582–8). He supplied his patron with several works by his own hand and perhaps by others: ‘I might go to Fontainebleau, from whence I might send you some rare piece of work.’ The works he sent back to England, documented in letters of 1582 from Paris, included a St John and a Neptune and Coenis. It may be inferred from his training and from his trips to France that de Critz was fully aware of European Mannerism and the school of Fontainebleau. Thus it may well be that his was the driving force behind the development in England of the exotic, courtly and highly mannered Elizabethan portrait style.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Renaissance Art.