Jan van Scorel

Dates1495 - 1562

Humanist, musician, poet, amateur archaeologist, and clergyman, multi-talented Jan van Scorel was the first northern Netherlandish artist to absorb High Renaissance art in Italy and bring it home. He not only assimilated aspects of the figure styles of Michelangelo and Raphael but also created landscapes in the style of Giorgione.

Van Scorel received his initial professional training in 1512 under Amsterdam's first major painter. In 1517 he studied with Jan Gossaert in Utrecht and soon after worked with Albrecht Dürer in Germany. In Venice, Van Scorel discovered paintings with golden sunlight, bright colors, loose brushwork, and clearly organized landscapes with rolling hills and winding roads.

Upon the invitation of pilgrims he met in Rome, Van Scorel visited the Holy Land. Returning to Rome, in 1523 he became director of Vatican antiquities under the Dutch Pope, Hadrian VI.

Van Scorel's return to Utrecht in 1524 has been called a turning point in northern Netherlandish painting. He painted some of the Netherlands' earliest group portraits, and his workshop swelled with commissions. He taught Antonis Mor, and in 1550 he was trusted with restoring Jan van Eyck's Ghent altarpiece. Many of van Scorel's religious works, including large altarpieces, were destroyed in outbreaks of iconoclasm.