Crispin van den Broeck

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Portrait, engraved by Hendrik Hondius, 1618

Crispin van den Broeck (1523 – c. 1591) was a Flemish painter. He was born in Mechelen. He came from a family of artists, was probably trained by his father, and was the brother of Willem van den Broeck and Hendrick van den Broeck. He worked as a painter, draftsman and engraver. He was enlisted as a master in the Guild of St. Luke of Antwerp in 1555–6, where he became a citizen in 1559.

In Antwerp he was a collaborator of Frans Floris with whom he remained until the master’s death in 1570. According to Karel van Mander, Crispin van den Broeck and Frans Pourbus the elder completed an altarpiece for the Grand-Prior of Spain left incomplete at the time of Floris’s death. Van Mander also claimed that Crispin van den Broek was 'a good inventor... clever at large nudes and just as good an architect'. Crispin van den Broek died in Antwerp sometime between 1589 and 6 February 1591.


Two Young Men
Crispin van den Broeck (Dutch), ca. 1590; Oil on panel; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Van den Broeck's painting Two Young Men has been interpreted as depicting a sexual relationship through its symbolism; this is deemed "unlikely" by the Fitzwilliam Museum, which states that the two young men are more likely brothers, and that death, rather than sex, is the subject of the painting's symbolic allusions.[1]