HEEMSKERCK, Maerten van
(b. 1498, Heemskerck, d. 1574, Haarlem)
St Luke Painting the Virgin1550-53
Oil on canvas, 206 x 144 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes
Due to the fame of Rogier van der Weyden's St Luke Painting the Virgin, dozens of artists painted this subject over the next century, especially in the Low Countries and Germany. The composition and its content evolved over time as attitudes about art changed. Van Heemskerk created his version possibly as an altarpiece for Delft's St Luke's guild. The apparent influence of Michelangelo and the inclusion of antique sculptures indicates the stay of the artist in Rome. The painting harks back to Jan Gossart's St Luke Painting the Virgin in Prague, but now the background reflects his visits to courtyards in Rome that were full of recently unearthed antiquities.