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Het grafmonument van Jan van Scorel

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image of Oud Holland - Quarterly for Dutch Art History

Jan van Scorel was the only one of the painters of note of the I6th ard I7th centuries to whom an imposing monument was erected. He owed this not to his fame as a painter, but to his capacity as Canon of the Chapter of St. Mary's, Utrecht, an office conferred on him by Pope Adriaen vl in I628. The monument was already lost during the first stage of the demolition of the church in I712 and was known only from descriptions by Arnold Buchelius, notably that in his Monumenta of I592 (Note I), while the inscriptions on it are also mentioned by Van Mander (Note 2). The description in Buchelius' Monumenta is accompanied by a rough sketch (Fig. I), in the centre of which appears an empty tondo, where there is said once to have been a portrait of Scorel by Antonie Mor, the surround of which was in Bentheim stone. One of the texts is said to have been carved on the wall, the others on the floor. Carel van Mander also speaks of a portrait of Scorel painted by Mor in I560, two years before his death, and records the inscription on it. It is generally agreed that the portrait is that by Mor now in the Society of Antiquaries in London (Fig.2, Note 5). This still bears part of the text cited by Van Mander, while examination by infrared reflectography in 1977 revealed a further part ofit, the remainder presumably appearing on the frame (Note 6) . This examination also reavealed the date 1559. In I984 three fragments of Namur stone were unearthed from the garden of the Old Catholic Almoner's House on Mariahoek (Fig.3) . The fragmentary inscriptions on these proved them to be part of Scorel's tombstone, namely two pieces from the left side and one from the top right corner (Fig. 4). This find also proved that the interpretations of Buchelius' description as a wall monument in the Italian style with a sarcophagus under the portrait (Notes 7, 8), were incorrect and that it actually comprised a combination of a wall monument in Bentheim stone and a tombstone in Namur stone. Carved on the latter in low relief is a sarcophagus with vases at the corners and pilaster legs, which has an inscription between garlands at the top and gadrooning below. The sarcophagus rests on a base with a long inscription between two pilasters decorated with grotesques and on either side a putto with an inverted torch. The find proves that Buchelius' drawing is only a rough sketch and certainly not correct in every detail and the same must be true oj the surround of the tondo.


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