van Scorel was born in 1495 in Schoorl (Scorel) near Alkmaar. It is not
certain where he studied, some scholars think that he was apprenticed to
Jacob Cornelisz in Amsterdam, others - to Jan Gossaert in Utrecht.
Passion for traveling put Scorel on an extended tour: he visited Dürer
in Nuremberg, painted his first representative work in Obervellach in Austria
("Sippenaltar", 1520), then traveled via Venice to Rome. There Pope Adrian
VI, a native of Utrecht, appointed him painter to the Vatican and successor
to Raphael as Keeper of the
Belvedere. From Rome Scorel went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
After his return to the Netherlands he lived in turn in Haarlem, Ghent,
at last, in 1524, he settled in Utrecht and developed a brilliant career
as a painter and teacher. Highly gifted and educated (he was an architect,
engineer, poet, musician, knew several languages), equally endowed with
intellect and spontaneity, he created a wealth of altarpieces and portraits
in which Italian art merged with native tradition that gives us the right
to consider him the leading Netherlandish “Romanist”. (Netherlandish “Romanist”
is a term used to denote a large group of leading Flemish artists of the
first half of the 16th century, who integrated the classical imagery in
their work. From this time on, painting mythological scenes and nudes as
the main subject also became popular in the Netherlands.) Many of the artist’s
works were destroyed during the Iconoclasm (1566).
Jan van Scorel died in Utrecht in 1562.
Painting of Europe. XIII-XX centuries. Encyclopedic Dictionary.
Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1999.