HEEMSKERCK, Maerten van
(b. 1498, Heemskerck, d. 1574, Haarlem)
Oil on panel, 334 x 270 cm
Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
This work illustrate the influence exerted in the Low Countries by the Italian Renaissance. A variety of artists made the journey to Italy in the 16th century, where they absorbed the new artistic ideas. Their work brought an entirely new approach to religious painting compared to the pious, inward-looking art of the 15th century. Novel elements included brilliant compositions and above all the heightened attention to the human body - a focus that led to frequent exaggeration.
Many of the paintings produced by the Haarlem artist Maerten van Heemskerck, who spent the years 1532-35 in Italy, stand out for their somewhat contrived poses and their element of theatricality. His Crucifixion, with its atmosphere of torment, heightened by the use of colour is a striking example of the Mannerist approach.
The painting is signed and dated bottom left: M. HEMSKERCK /fecit/ 1543.