Jan 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.