Geertgen Tot Sint Jans Biography | Oil Paintings
2-1465 Leiden, NED – 7-1495 Haarlem, NEDBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Geertgen Tot Sint Jans was a pupil of Albert Van Ouwater in Haarlem, one of the first oil painters in the northern Low Countries. In the city of Haarlem, Geertgen was a lay brother, working and living in the Saint John's Brethren monastery, where he painted an altarpiece for them. Geertgen tot Sint Jans took the name of the church without joining the order, thus his last name "tot Sint Jans" means "unto Saint John". He died when he was twenty-eight and is buried in the churchyard.
The town of Leiden as Geertgen tot Sint Jans birthplace is traceable to a seventeenth-century print by where he is referred to as Gerardus van Leydanus. The painting of the Lamentation of Christ was originally on the inside right door of a wood-panel triptych for the high altar of the Saint John's Brethren monastery in Haarlem, and the two side panels were sawed off from the central panel into two separate paintings after the Protestant Reformation and are now located in separate museums.
Though Haarlem today is a sleepy little suburb of Amsterdam, in the fourteenth century Haarlem was a major city. It was the second largest city in Holland after Dordrecht and before Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam, Gouda, and Rotterdam. In 1429 the city gained the right to collect tolls, including ships passing the city on the Spaarne river.
As is typical of the art of the time it was done primarily on oak panels with oil paints made by mixing pigments with drying oil, this enabled the painter to develop layers of paint to give diverse visual impacts.
His paintings depict scenes derived from the New Testament and belong to the early Dutch School. During the Reformation, some of his paintings were destroyed, around twelve surviving paintings are attributed to Geertgen tot Sint Jans, with others believed to be copied by others of lost originals by him.
Art Movement: Northern Renaissance.
Artists Influencing Geertgen tot Sint Jans: Albert van Ouwater.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.