Influenced by Italian art, in his own day Michiel Coxcie (Coxie) was called ‘the Flemish Raphael’. He introduced to Netherlandish painting a more volumetric conception of the human form, expressed through large-scale figures and a heroic ideal.
Coxcie was born in 1499, probably in Mechelen which at that time was the judicial and religious centre of the Netherlands. After training with Bernaert van Orley in Brussels, he travelled to Haarlem and to Rome where he lived from 1530 to 1539.
On his return north, Coxcie became a master in the Mechelen Guild of St Luke. Shortly thereafter he moved to Brussels, joining the local guild of painters in 1542.
In 1546 Coxcie was mentioned as court painter to Mary of Hungary, Regent of the Netherlands, although he had probably already been active in that capacity for at least a year.
Coxcie was a versatile and extremely prolific artist. In addition to history paintings, altarpieces, frescos, and portraits, he also made designs for engravings, tapestries, and stained glass windows.