Painter, architect, sculptor, design draughtsman, draughtsman, mathematician and astronomer
The life of Pieter de Kempeneer, better known as Pedro de Campana, is documented almost exclusively in Spanish sources, for the artist, who was born in Brussels around 1503, lived and worked in Seville from 1537 to 1561. His local renown was especially propagated in the late sixteenth century by Francisco Pacheco, who discussed in detail only the works by the artist that had been produced and remained in Spain.
Pieter de Kempeneer came from a Brussels artist family whose members were active as both painters and designers for the city's tapestry industry. Pieter would also work in both areas, and most likely as a sculptor as well. He received his first training in painting in the workshop of Bernard van Orley. Perhaps as early as 1527, Pacheco relates, he then found himself in Bologna, where he is said to have been involved in the creation of decorations for the coronation festivities for Charles V. The precise duration of his Italian stay is uncertain, as is the scope and character of the work he produced there.
It is only with his appearance in Spain in 1537 that the artist and his painterly oeuvre become better known. From that point until 1561, he is continuously documented in Seville. Numerous paintings, many of which are still found in their original locations in Seville's churches, can be attributed to this residency with certainty; they exhibit a characteristic blend of Netherlandish, Italian and Spanish stylistic elements. From 28 May 1563, Pieter de Kempeneer is again recorded in Brussels, where he was commissioned by the city to design important tapestry cycles. A series of small-format paintings can be added to the oeuvre previously produced in Spain on the basis of their style. De Kempeneer probably died in Brussels around 1580.