Maerten de Vos probably was a pupil of Frans Floris (1519/20-1570). In 1552 he travelled through Italy, maybe accompanied by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525/30-1569), and he visited Rome, Florence and Venice.
It is a controversial point, if he worked in the studio of Tintoretto. It is proofed that he stayed again in Antwerp from 1556. In 1558 he became a member of the Guild of Saint Luke. After Floris had died in 1570, he developed to the predominant artist in Antwerp and his workshop grew up intensely. Due to the recatholisation from 1585 he got numerous commissions for making altarpieces. Beside this he mainly made preliminary drawings for copper engravings.