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Maarten van Heemskerck (Heemskerk, 1498 - Haarlem, 1574)

Saint Luke Painting the Madonna


According to legend, Saint Luke painted a portrait of the Virgin with the infant Jesus. Lucas therefore became the patron saint of artists. Van Heemskerck depicted Saint Luke painting the portrait just before he travelled to Rome in 1532. He gave the painting as a gift to the Haarlem branch of the Guild of St Luke, the professional association of artists of which he was himself a member, as is apparent from the note in the bottom left. If he were not to return from Italy, this painting would at least constitute a record of his artistic abilities.

Van Heemskerck painted this image in two parts, which hung by the altar of the Guild of St Luke in in Grote Kerk church, also known as St Bavokerk in Haarlem in Haarlem. Shorty after his death the two parts were joined. The painting later hung in the museum of the city of Haarlem and from 1913 in the Frans Hals Museum. The work was recently restored, and separated into its original two parts again.

The man over on the right guiding the painter’s hand symbolises ‘inspiration’. The face is a self-portrait of the artist, the message being that art is an intellectual pursuit, not merely handiwork.

  • Maker

    Maarten van Heemskerck (Heemskerk, 1498 - Haarlem, 1574)

  • Titel

    Saint Luke Painting the Madonna

  • Periode


  • Collectie

    Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

  • Materiaal

    Oil paint on panel | H168 x W235 cm


Groot Heiligland 62, Haarlem

Dinsdag t/m zondag geopend
van 11.00 - 17.00 uur


Grote Markt 16, Haarlem

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