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(b Leiden, c.1556; d Brussels, 6 May 1629). Flemish painter. From c.1575 to c.1580 he was in Italy, where he is said to have been a pupil of Federico Zuccaro, and after working in various places in Germany and Flanders he settled in Antwerp in about 1592. He was an uninspired Mannerist painter, but he became busy and successful, his work including portraits, illustrations for emblem books, and altarpieces inspired by Italian masters such as Correggio and Parmigianino (Mystic Marriage of St Catherine, 1589, Mus. Royaux, Brussels). His love of Italian art and his scholarly inclinations (he often Latinized his name to Octavius Vaenius) must have been appreciated by Rubens, who completed his training in van Veen's studio. After Rubens returned from Italy in 1608, van Veen's work looked old-fashioned and his career petered out.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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