HEMESSEN, van, Flemish family of painters

Originally from the village of Hemessen (Hemishem) outside Antwerp, Jan Sanders was apprenticed in 1519–20 to Hendrik van Cleve I (before 1489–after 1520), a master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke. Stylistic evidence suggests that he may then have worked with the Master of the Magdalen Legend at the royal court at Mechelen, where Hemessen could have come into contact with the court painters Jan Cornelisz. Vermeyen and Jan Gossart. Hemessen made an extensive trip to Italy during the 1520s. By 1524 Jan had become a master in the Guild of St Luke in Antwerp, where he established a workshop that flourished for over 30 years. Aided by a felicitous marriage, before 1535, to Barbara de Fevere, the daughter of a successful Antwerp cloth merchant, Hemessen evidently became a wealthy man. His daughter and pupil Catharina was a prominent painter.

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