He was born in Baarle-Hertog, near Breda between 1410 and 1420.
He was a disciple of Jan van Eyck, in his Bruges workshop, where he would work until the master’s death in 1441.
Although he retains absolutely Gothic traces, he is considered one of the forerunners of the Renaissance in Northern Europe.
The exact date of his birth is not known, but it is known that he was active in Bruges from 1444, the year in which he obtained the title of teacher in this city.
Since his arrival in Bruges he has completed at least two works by Van Eyck («Saint Jerome» and «Madonna Rothschild») and continued his tradition and influence, making copies and variations of his work.
He traveled to Italy after that year, receiving the influence of Antonello da Messina, an influence that can be seen in Virgen con dos Santos, made after returning to Flanders.
From 1452, already in his country, the influence of the painters Dirk Bouts, Roger van der Weyden and Robert Campin began to be appreciated in his painting.
His painting, entirely oils, is fundamentally religious, portraits, and some genre scenes, which are executed in detail and with clear colors.
Over the years the contrasts are accentuated, the plastic gains strength and, at the same time, the model becomes more sober.
He was considered in Bruges as the best teacher, after the death of Jan Van Eyck.
They stand out:
Saint Eloy and Deposition in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of New York.
The Virgin and Child in the Prado Museum in Madrid.
The Nativity and Two Donors at the National Gallery in Washington.
Portrait of a Girl in the Staatliche Museen in Berlin.
The Virgin of the dry tree of 1465 in the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, this painting is an unusual subject. in his painting, it is a representation related to the Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Dry Tree, to which the artist and his wife belonged.
It is assumed that some brother may have commissioned the work for his private devotion or even that it was Petrus Christus himself.
He died in Bruges in 1473.