Christus, Petrus (d. 1472/73). Netherlandish painter. He is first documented at Bruges in 1444, and he is thought by some authorities to have been the pupil of Jan van Eyck and to have completed some of the works left unfinished by the master at his death in 1444 (e.g. St Jerome, Detroit Institute of Arts). It is certainly true that he was overwhelmingly influenced by van Eyck, and his copies and variations of his work helped to spread the Eyckian style. Christus's work is more summary than van Eyck's, however, his figures sometimes rather doll-like and without van Eyck's feeling of inner life. The influence of Rogier van der Weyden is also evident in Christus's work; the Lamentation (Musees Royaux, Brussels) is clearly based on van der Weyden's great Prado Deposition, but the figures have completely lost their dramatic impact.
Photographs by Carol Gerten-Jackson.
Christus's most personal works are his portraits, notably Edward Grimston (Earl of Verulam Collection, 1446) in which he abandons the dark backgrounds of van Eyck and van der Weyden and places his sitter in a clearly defined interior. His interest in representing space comes out also in his Virgin and Child with Sts Jerome and Francis (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 1457), the earliest dated example in the north of the use of geometric perspective with a single vanishing point.