Ill-Matched Lovers (Matsys)

The Ill-Matched Lovers is an oil painting by the early Netherlandish master Quentin Matsys, usually dated between 1520 and 1525. This painting depicts the trope that old age can make one foolish.[1] Matsys depicts this theme by showing an older man besotted by a younger, beautiful woman. He gazes at her adoringly, not noticing that with the aid of an accomplice, she is stealing his purse. The face of the old man was influenced by a drawing done by Leonardo da Vinci, demonstrating Matsys’ skill in combining Northern European themes with Italian elements.[1]

Ill-Matched Lovers
Quentin Massys - Ill-Matched Lovers, c. 1520-25.jpg
ArtistQuentin Matsys
Yearca. 1520-1525
Mediumoil on panel
Dimensions43.2 cm × 63 cm (17.0 in × 25 in)
LocationNational Gallery, Washington DC


  • Snyder, James. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. Revised by Larry Silver and Henry Luttikhuizen. Upper Saddle River, 2005: 442, 443 fig. 18.13.
  • Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 130-131, no. 99, color repro.
  • Hand, John Oliver and Martha Wolff. Early Netherlandish Painting. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1986: 146-150, repro. 147.
  • Silver, Larry. The Paintings of Quinten Massys, with Cataloque Raisonné. Montclair, New Jersey, 1984: 10, 24, 79, 143-145, 223-224, no. 35, pl. 129.
  • Stewart, Alison. Unequal Lovers. A Study of Unequal Couples in Northern Art. New York, 1979: 68-71, 146, no. 18, fig. 40.


  1. ^ a b "Ill-Matched Lovers". Retrieved 2020-08-14.