Cornelis van Dalem

(c. 1530—1573)

Quick Reference

(b Antwerp, c. 1530; d Breda, 1573). Flemish painter. He was the son of a well-to-do cloth merchant living in Antwerp, but of Dutch origin. Cornelis received a humanistic education. His father, who owned land in Tholen, as a vassal to the Counts of Holland and Zeeland, was dean of the chamber of rhetorics’ ‘De Olijftak’ (The Olive Branch) in Antwerp in 1552–3. According to van Mander, Cornelis was himself learned in poetry and history and only painted as an amateur, not for a living. Documents in the Antwerp archives invariably refer to him as a merchant, never as a painter, which no doubt accounts for the small number of known paintings by him. He learnt to paint with an otherwise unknown artist, Jan Adriaensens, who had also taught his older brother Lodewijk van Dalem (fl 1544–85). The latter was inscribed as a pupil in 1544–5 and became a master in the guild in 1553–4. Cornelis was himself inscribed a year after his brother, and he became a master in 1556, the same year he married Beatrix van Liedekercke, a member of an Antwerp patrician family. They lived in Antwerp until late 1565, when, apparently for religious reasons, they left for Breda, together with the artist's mother, who had become a widow in 1561. In 1571 several local witnesses testified that van Dalem, who was then living in a small castle, ‘De Ypelaar’, in Bavel, near Breda, was strongly suspected of being a heretic. He was never seen in church and was said, on the contrary, to have often attended Protestant services and to have publicly expressed contempt for ‘Papists’.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.