Drama and Devotion: Heemskerck's Ecce Homo Altarpiece from Warsaw
Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574) was one of the most active and inventive Dutch painters of the sixteenth century. Over the course of his long career, he created lively mythological scenes, dramatic altarpieces for guilds, and smaller works for wealthy individuals. Several of his religious paintings were destroyed by Protestant iconoclasts in 1566.One of his extant masterpieces, the Ecce Homo triptych of 1544, once graced the family chapel of Jan van Drenckwaerdt, a wealthy merchant and sheriff, in Dordrecht's Augustinian church. This unusually complete triptych, with its original decorated frame, was brought from the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland, for treatment and study at the J. Paul Getty Museum as part of the Conservation Partnership program. Richly illustrated, the book documents the dramatic process of revealing the brilliance of a sixteenth-century masterpiece, and it sheds light on the artist's technique, iconography, and the role of the altarpiece in the turbulent history of the era. Drama and Devotion accompanies an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum that opens June 5, 2012.