Frans the Elder’s father, Pieter Pourbus (1523 – 1584) was a painter, as was his son, Frans the younger (1569 0 1622). The family of artists lived in Antwerp, Belgium and were painters of the Flemish Renaissance. Much of Pieter’s style stemmed from the Italian influenced art of his teacher, Lanceloot Blondeel (1498 – 1561). Blondeel’s daughter married Pieter the Elder, and it’s interesting to note that Frans the Elder married the niece of his teacher.
Frans the Elder was also influenced by an Italian styled, Flemish teacher, Frans Floris (1516 – 1570). Floris’ studio was the leading producer of Romanism style painting in Antwerp at the time. While Frans the Elder painted mostly religious works, like his father before him, he also painted portraits. This includes his work seen in the Uffizi Gallery, Portrait of Viglius van Aytta.
His son, Frans the younger, went on to become the court painter for the Duke of Mantua.