Flemish family of artists. Adriaen Wouterszoon Key (dbefore 4 June 1541) was a goldsmith in Breda, as was his son Frans Key; at least four other sons settled in Antwerp, where three were active as painters and the youngest as a diamond-cutter. Wouter Key (before 1516–after 1542), presumably the eldest, was registered as a pupil of Jan Wellens de Cock (see Cock, (1)) in 1516–17. He became a master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke in 1531 and the following year is documented as having an apprentice, as he did again in 1544, the same year he was elected dean of the Guild. In 1547–8 he served as head receiver of the Guild's Poor-box (armenbus), which he helped found in 1537. No paintings by him are known, nor any by Cornelis Key, who became a master painter in 1549. The work of (1) Willem Key, a history and portrait painter, is best known, although many of his paintings have also disappeared, having perished during the Spanish Fury of 1576. Michiel Key, apparently the youngest of the brothers, became a citizen of Antwerp on 25 April 1550 and joined the Guild in 1555.(1) Willem (Adriaenszoon) Key (b Breda, c. 1515–16; d Antwerp, ?5 June 1568). Painter. He was at least 25 years old at the time of his father's death in 1541 (otherwise he would have had a guardian appointed) and may well have left Breda long before this. He had certainly gone by early June of that year, when his older brother Wouter returned to Breda from Antwerp and represented him in the division of their father's estate. By then Willem may have been studying with lambert Lombard in Liège, along with Frans Floris (see Floris, (2)), as is claimed by van Mander. He may also have received some earlier training in the Antwerp workshop of pieter Coecke van aelst, who had a pupil listed as ‘Willem of Breda’ in 1529–30.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Renaissance Art.