Geertgen tot Sint Jans

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Geertgen tot Sint Jans

(gārt`gən tôt sĭnt yäns), fl. latter half of 15th cent., Dutch painter. Geertgen is the earliest painter of record in Haarlem. He may have gone to Ghent and had some contact with Hugo van der Goes, for there are analogies in their works. Geertgen developed a bold and original style. His figures often have haunting features, particularly the eyes. Examples of his paintings are Man of Sorrows (Utrecht) and Adoration of the Kings (Cleveland Mus. of Art). He created a lyrical landscape background in St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness (Berlin) and one of the first known full-scale nocturnal scenes, The Nativity at Night (National Gall., London). His particularly striking use of monochrome detail can be seen in Virgin and Child (Mus. Boymans–van Beuningen, Rotterdam).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Geertgen Tot Sint Jans


Born circa 1460-65, in Leiden (?); died before 1495, in Haarlem (?). Dutch painter.

Geertgen tot Sint Jans worked in Haarlem. He developed the principles of Dutch Renaissance painting in an original and diversified way. He introduced into religious compositions specific genre elements, such as landscape, group portraits, and night contrasts of light and shade (Adoration of the Magi, National Gallery, Prague; St. John the Baptist in the Desert, Picture Gallery, Berlin-Dahlem; Adoration of the Child, the National Gallery, London). The work of Geertgen tot Sint Jans anticipated the subsequent searches by Dutch painters for new themes and techniques.


Vogelsang, W. Geertgen tot Sint Jans. Amsterdam, 1942.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.