Sphinx Fine Art
Sellaer’s biography is, unfortunately, far from clear. The sixteenth-century biographer of Netherlandish artist, Karel van Mander (1548-1606) refers to a painter in Mechelen named Vincent Geldersman who was noted for his depictions of both religious and mythological women, which proved extremely popular. Contemporary documents confirm the identification of Geldersman with Sellaer, but it is possible that two, or even three, generations of painters bore that name.
Nevertheless, scholars have determined that Sellaer seems to have been the foremost painter in Mechelen, and his patrons probably belonged to the court and the city’s Great Council. He occupies a unique place in Netherlandish art of this period, as the monumentality of form which he achieved was almost unprecedented. His ability to seamlessly fuse both northern and Italian sources was the key to the success of him and his workshop.