Jan van Scorel (1495-1562) was born in Schoorl, near Alkmaar. After attending Alkmaar's Latin school, he was apprenticed to painter Cornelis Willemsz of Haarlem. In 1512, he moved to Amsterdam to work at Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen’s studio. Van Scorel was one of the first Northern Netherlandish painters to visit Italy. In 1522, in Rome he entered the service of Pope Adrian VI (a Dutchman), as curator of antiquities at the Vatican. Returning to the Netherlands, he entered the clergy in Utrecht. His acquaintance with Italy and the work of Michelangelo and Rafael enabled him to play a key role in introducing Renaissance ideas to the Low Countries. Although he gave priority to his work as a cleric, Van Scorel was a prodigious artist, producing numerous portraits and works on religious themes. Around 1528, he had a studio in Haarlem, where he was assisted by Maarten van Heemskerck. Later, he returned to Utrecht, where he ran a flourishing studio producing monumental altarpieces.