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Pieter Coecke van Aelst

1502 Aelst – 1550 Brussels

As a painter and draughtsman Pieter Coecke van Aelst is as versatile as he is evasive, and any attempt to circumscribe his artistic oeuvre is extraordinarily difficult in view of the paucity of biographical details and his widely ramified studio activity. According to Carel van Mander, he was a pupil of Barent van Orley in Brussels. We know that the artist was in Antwerp in 1525 and that two years later he was admitted as a free, independent master to the guild there. Later on, Pieter Coecke distinguished himself as a specialist in altar paintings and a designer of tapestries and stainedglass windows. It has been proved that he stayed in Italy between 1521 and 1524–25. In 1533 Coecke was in Constantinople. Pieter Coecke’s graphic oeuvre is small and stylistically very heterogeneous. Pen drawings predominate.