Jan van Scorel
Portrait of Agatha van Schoonhoven
38.3 x 27.1 cm; oil on wood panel (FC 216)
The panel has signature, date, and subject (”AGATHA SCONHOVIANA / PER SCORELIU. / PICT… / 1529!; and in old writing, “1529″). It is one of the best known paintings of the great Dutch artist, who was one of the first to “go Roman” on an Italian tour. Under the protection of Pope Adrian VI, he obtained a canonry in Utrecht, where he lived with the young woman in the portrait. It is a rare example of a portrait of an artist’s actual companion, though the theme had already been fraudulently explored even before the frequent invented subjects of the Romantic era. For this reason, along with the excellent quality of its execution, this piece has had vast attention from specialised literature. The painting was stolen by a thief disguised as a monk, who swapped it with a copy, (Criminology Museum, Rome) leaving the original to be found not long afterwards.