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St Luke Painting the Virgin
St Luke Painting the Virgin St Luke Painting the Virgin

By Maerten van Heemskerck

St Luke Painting the Virgin
St Luke Painting the Virgin St Luke Painting the Virgin

According to a legend the Evangelist St Luke painted a portrait of Mary and the infant Jesus; for this reason St Luke was the patron saint of artists’ professional associations, the guilds of St Luke. Van Heemskerck painted this picture as a gift for the Haarlem St Luke’s Guild, as appears from the note at the lower left. The painting hung high above the guild’s altar in St Bavo’s Cathedral. The painter took this into account by painting the scene as if it were seen from a low viewpoint. The model for St Luke was a Haarlem baker; the man with the laurel wreath, ‘inspiration’, appears to be Van Heemskerck himself. The message of this painting seems to be that in art inspiration occupies a higher place than manual work.

Year

1532

On display

Yes

Material

oil on panel

Dimensions

168 x 235 cm

Credit

Frans Hals Museum, photo: Margareta Svensson

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