This is the catalogue of a small, intelligent exhibition held at the Centraal Museum, April 8 – July 2, 2000. At the core of the exhibition were two paintings by Jan van Scorel belonging to the Centraal Museum, the Virgin and Child, acquired in 1995, and the Madonna with Wild Roses, and a third work, the Virgin and Child in the Kartinaja Galeria, Tambov. This last-named work together with its pendant, the Portrait of a Man in Berlin, was one of the delights of the 1986 Kunst voor de beeldenstorm show in Amsterdam. As indicated by the sub-title, one aim of the exhibition was to examine the ways in which Jan van Scorel and his assistants made paintings, and so for each of the three depictions of the Virgin and Child there were shown related paintings that were either attributions to Scorel, workshop versions, or were clearly copies.
Molly Faries and Jan van Scorel are old friends and, as we have come to expect, infrared reflectography, x-radiography, and microscopic examination as well as stylistic analysis were brought together in a clear, careful, and insightful discussion. Faries’s observations are aided greatly by the cleverly designed catalogue which is bound in two sections so that, when both are opened, it is possible to read the text while simultaneously comparing the painted image to the underdrawing and the x-radiograph. The catalogue is a welcome addition to the growing literature on workshop practice in the Netherlands, and as Faries and Helmus make clear, Scorel and his atelier had multiple strategies for fabricating paintings.
John Oliver Hand
National Gallery of Art