John de Critz

(c. 1561—1642) serjeant-painter

Quick Reference

(b Antwerp, c.1551; bur. London, 14 Mar. 1642). British painter, the son of an Antwerp goldsmith who settled in London to escape religious persecution. In 1603 he was appointed serjeant-painter by James I and held the post until his death. No works certainly by him survive, but a number of portraits have been given to him on circumstantial evidence, including one of James I (1610) in the National Maritime Museum, London. Three of his sons were also painters: John the Younger (c.1591–c.1642), Thomas (1607–53), and Emanuel (1608–65). Little is known about any of them, but an impressive group of portraits of the Tradescant family (c.1640–50, Ashmolean Mus., Oxford) is probably by Thomas or Emanuel (the Tradescant and de Critz families were related). These portraits have a weighty gravity combined with a certain eccentric melancholy that puts them among the most remarkable English paintings of their period.

From The Oxford Dictionary of Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

Reference entries