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Also called Jacob van Amsterdam or van Oostzann, and at times confounded with a Walter van Assen, a Dutch painter of the first third of the sixteenth century. Nothing certain is known regarding the life of Cornelisz nor of his relations to other artists. He was one of the last painters of the Netherlands who showed no traces of Italian influence; however, his pupil, Jan van Scorel, is regarded as the first "Romanist". In composition Cornelisz was natural and expressed agreeable feeling in the manner of the old Flemish school; his colours are rich and warm; his backgrounds display an attractive landscape. But besides mistakes in drawing, an ugly realism often detracts from his work. Pictures are extant which it is certain he painted in the years 1506-30. A small yet attractive altar-piece in Berlin represents in the foreground the Madonna and Child with angels playing musical instruments, while the background shows a landscape; on the wings are depicted St. Augustine, St. Barbara, and the donor; the outer sides of the wings show St. Anne and St. Elizabeth. An altar-piece in the Belvedere at Vienna, representing St. Jerome, is full of force, variety, and religious feeling. St. Jerome is drawing a thorn out of the foot of a lion; the landscape in the background shows scenes from the life of the saint; on the outside of the doors is the Mass of St. Gregory. One of the most important works of Cornelisz is the "Triumph of Religion", or the "Adoration of the Trinity", at Cassel. At Antwerp there is an altar-piece of the Virgin with angels; another, representing the Crucifixion, is at Cologne. A "Nativity" at Naples and an "Adoration of the Magi" at Verona are carefully executed paintings. Both Berlin and the archiepiscopal museum at Antwerp possess canvases representing the Adoration of the Magi; a painting of the same subject is in private possession at The Hague. The figure of Christ and the drapery of Mary Magdalen are not pleasing in a picture at Cassel of the Risen Christ, painted by Cornelisz in his earliest period. Another canvas of a later date shows Saul and the Witch of Endor.
WAAGEN, Handbuch der deutschen und niederländischen Malerschulen (Stuttgart, 1862), I; SCHMIDT, Kunstchronik, XV; BODE, Repertorium, IV; SCHEIBLER, Gemälde des Jakob Cornelisz von Amsterdam in Jahrbuch der preussischen Kunstsammlungen (1882); FRANTZ, Geschichte der christlichen Malerei (Freiburg im Br., 1894), II.