Friday, December 27, 2013

Van Scorel, Jan

Mary Magdalene
67 x 76 cm
oil on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The woman is Mary Magdalene. She can be identified by her jar of ointment, which she used to anoint Jesus’s feet. Van Scorel painted her as a seductive, luxuriously dressed courtesan, a reference to her reputed past as a prostitute. The name Christ comes from the Greek 'christos', meaning the anointed one.

Jan Van Scorel (1495-1562) is a Dutch humanist, architect, engineer, and painter. He studied in Rome and returning to Holland in 1524, he began a successful career as a painter and a teacher, introducing Italian Renaissance elements. He successfully combined the idealism of Renaissance Italy with the naturalism of northern European art in his paintings, and he bequeathed the style to successive generations of Dutch artists. Considered to be the leading Netherlandish Romanist, van Scorel died in Utrecht in 1562, leaving behind a wealth of portraits and altarpieces.