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Maarten van Heemskerck en Italië

Ilja M. Veldman
Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek (NKJ) / Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art
Vol. 44, NEDERLAND-ITALIE: Relaties in de beeldende kunst van de Nederlanden en Italië / Artistic relations between the Low Countries and Italy 1400-1750 (1993), pp. 125-142
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43888661
Page Count: 18
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Abstract

Of all 16th century painters from the Netherlands, Maarten van Heemskerck was the most consciously and deeply influenced by Italian art. During his stay in Rome from 1532 to at least 1536 if not 1537, he made more than 100 sketches and drawings, mainly of classical sculpture with special attention to human anatomy (fig. 2). For the rest of his life, the careful rendering of the human body was to remain one of the hallmarks of his work (fig. 3). Direct derivations from classical sculptures can be noticed in several paintings dating from his stay in Rome (fig. 5, 8), as well as from later years (fig. 4, 7, 9). There are various opinions on the extent to which Van Heemskerck's later works show the influence of contemporary Italian art. In general his main sources of influence are considered to have been the works of Michelangelo and Raphael, but the influence of Raphael's pupils, such as Giuilio Romano and Baldassare Peruzzi, and other Roman Mannerist painters is also discernable. Italian prints, like those of Marcantonio Raimondi, were very important to him, too (fig. 9). Van Heemskerck dealt with these various influences in a very personal way. A considerable amount of Van Heemskerck's paintings show subjects from classical Antiquity. The Landscape with the Rape of Helen (1535/1536), the Triumph of Bacchus (fig. 5), Venus and Cupid in Vulcan's Forge (1536, fig. 8) and Venus and Mars (1536) were painted during his stay in Rome, while the Judgement of Paris (ca. 1545-1550, fig. 9), Apollo and the Muses (ca. 1550-1560, fig. 10), the Bathing Gods (1556, fig. 11) and the Mount Parnassus (1565) were made in Haarlem. The Bathing Gods, even though evoking a classical atmosphere, was not based on Italian examples. The same is true for Momus Critizing the Works of the Gods (1561), which is in fact derived from an emblem by the humanist scholar Hadrianus Junius from Haarlem. After his return to Holland, Van Heemskerck continued to feel strongly attached to classical Rome, as is shown by his self-portrait (1553, fig. 12), Landscape with the Good Samaritan (fig. 6), Bullfight in a antique Arena (1552, fig. 13), and the addition of a print of the Colosseum to his series of the Seven Wonders of the World (1572).

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