Maarten van Heemskerck studied in Delft and Haarlem, collaborating with Jan van Scorel. In 1532 he travelled to Rome, where he stayed for four years.
Introduced by Van Scorel to the influential Dutch cardinal Willem van Enckevoirt, Van Heemskerck received many commissions and obtained much success in the Roman art world. Together with prominent Italian artists he was selected to redecorate the Porta San Sebastiano at Rome as a triumphal arch in honour of Charles V, which would earn him the praise of Giorgio Vasari, whom he also met personally. The artist also made many drawings of Rome's monuments, most notably a series of sketches of the ungoing construction of St. Peter's, which give remarkable insight into the building process of the new basilica.
On his return to the Netherlands in 1536, Van Heemskerck settled at Haarlem where he continued his successful career, exercising much influence on the painters of the Haarlem school. Together with Van Scorel he is credited with introducing Italian Renaissance art to the Northern Netherlands, thus laying the foundation for the Dutch Golden Age. (AW)
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N. Dacos, Roma quanta fuit. Ou l'invention du paysage de ruines, Paris/Brussels 2004
A.J. DiFuria, 'Remembering the Eternal in 1553. Maerten van Heemskerck's Self-Portrait before the Colosseum', Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 59 (2009), pp. 91-108
Chr. Huelsen, 'Unbekannte roemische Zeichnungen von Marten van Heemserck', Mededeelingen van het Nederlandsch Historisch Instituut te Rome 7 (1927), pp. 83-96 I. van Thiel-Stroman, ‘Maerten Jacobsz van Heemskerk’ in: N. Köhler et al. (eds.), Painting in Haarlem 1500-1850: the collection of the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem 2006, pp. 197-201
I.M. Veldman, Maarten van Heemskerck and Dutch Humanism in the Sixteenth Century, Amsterdam 1977 I.M. Veldman, 'Maarten van Heemskerck in Italië', Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 44 (1993), pp. 125-142
I.M. Veldman, 'Landschap en de antieke kunst. Maarten van Heemskercks "Berlijnse schetsboek"', in: J.E. Abrahamse et al. (ed.), De verbeelde wereld. Liber amicorum voor Boudewijn Bakker, Bussum 2008, pp. 47-55
E. Zevenhuizen and P. de Boer, Maerten van Heemskerck 1498-1574: "constigh vermaert schilder", Heemskerk 1998