South Netherlandish painter, draughtsman, engraver and publisher. He was the son of the sculptor Balten Jansz. de Costere (fl 1524). In 1550 he became a master in the Guild of St Luke in Antwerp and in 1569 its dean. Primarily on the authority of van Mander,
Baltens was long considered to be an inferior imitator of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
Baltens s best-known work, the signed St Martin s Day Kermis (e.g. versions Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum; Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten), was formerly thought to be a free copy after Bruegel s treatment of the subject, known through an engraving and the Gift of St Martin, a fragment on cloth (Vienna, Kunsthistorishes Museum). The relationship between Baltens and Bruegel is, however, more complicated. In 1551 they collaborated on an altarpiece (destroyed) for the Mechelen Glovemakers. Baltens s other works, for example the Ecce homo (Antwerp, Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten), reveal that the two artists were closely associated: a group from the Ecce Homo reappears as an independent painting (private collection) by Bruegel s son and imitator Pieter Bruegel the Younger.
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