(b ?Baerle-Duc [now Baarle-Hertog], ?c.1410; d Bruges, 1475/6). Netherlandish painter, active in Bruges. He is first documented there in 1444 and was the leading artist in the city in the generation after Jan van Eyck, who died in 1441. Traditionally he has been regarded as Jan's pupil (and it has been suggested that he completed works the master left unfinished at his death), but it is now thought likely that he received his training elsewhere before arriving in Bruges.
Nevertheless, he was strongly influenced by Jan and helped to spread his style. Christus's work is plainer and more summary, however, and his figures tend to be rather doll-like. The influence of Rogier van der Weyden is also evident in some of Christus's work: his Lamentation (c.1450, Mus. Royaux, Brussels), for example, is clearly based on Rogier's celebrated Descent from the Cross (c.1440, Prado, Madrid), but the figures have completely lost their dramatic impact. Christus's most personal works are his portraits, notably Edward Grimston (1446, Earl of Verulam coll., on loan to NG, London), in which he abandons the dark backgrounds of Jan and Rogier and places his sitter in a clearly defined interior. His interest in representing space also comes out in some of his religious works, notably the Virgin and Child in a Chamber (c.1450–60, Nelson–Atkins Mus., Kansas City, Missouri), which has a particularly complex and attractive setting.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)