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Home / Great Artists / S / Jan van Scorel / Biography
Biography Jan van Scorel

Jan van Scorel Biography


1495-1562

Dutch Northern Renaissance Painter

Jan van Scorel (1495, Schoorl - December 6, 1562, Utrecht) was an influential Dutch painter credited with the introduction of High Italian Renaissance art to the Netherlands. It is not known whether he began his studies under Jan Gossaert in Utrecht or with Jacob Cornelisz in Amsterdam, but it certain that it was the master painters he would meet later in his life who would have the greatest effect on his technique. Van Scorel began traveling through Europe in his early twenties, first heading to Nuremberg and then to Austria. It was there, in 1520, that he completed his first representative work, "Sippenaltar". Giorgione served as a considerable influence on van Scorel during a tenure in Venice. Upon leaving Venice, van Scorel passed through Rome and made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His experiences in Jerusalem are depicted in many of his later works.
In 1521, van Scorel returned to Rome where he met Pope Adrian VI, who appointed him painter to the Vatican. He himself sat for a portrait. Van Scorel enjoyed the influence of Michaelangelo and Raphael, and succeeded Raphael as Keeper of the Belvedere.
Upon his return to the Netherlands in 1524, he began a successful career as a painter and a teacher. Van Scorel was a very educated man and skilled as an engineer and an architect, as well as an artist. He was also multi-lingual, no doubt as a result of his travels.
Considered to be the leading Netherlandish Romanist, van Scorel died in Utrecht in 1562, leaving behind a wealth of portraits and altarpieces. Though many of his works fell victim to the Iconoclasm in 1566, some still remain and can be seen primarily at museums in the Netherlands.