Symbol of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus on a XVI. Century Dutch painting

Those can learn about the works of extraordinary painters, who visit the historic Dutch city of Haarlem, and have a look at the collection of the Frans Hals Museum. Note that in the XVI. century this city was one of the most important cultural centres of the Netherlands. Many great painters worked here, and their works accurately portray the contemporary lives and vivid social activities of the local wealthy people. Jan van Scorel (1495 Alkmaar – 1562 Utrecht), an outstanding figure of the so called “North” Renaissance painting, who was between 1621 – 24 upon invitation of VI. Adrian Pope the Vatican's painter and the curator of the Belvedere collection, takes a prominent place among the artists. He played an important part that the Italian Renaissance painting prevailed throughout the Netherlands.

The “12 Members of the Haarlem Brotherhood of Jerusalem Pilgrims” painting of Jan van Scorel can be found in the Frans Hals Museum, which was painted in 1527.

The picture was painted on wood by oil-painting technique for the fraternal companionship founded in 1506, the “Haarlem Brotherhood of Jerusalem Pilgrims”, of which anyone – male and female alike – could be a member, who went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the Holy Sepulcher. There are 12 pilgrims on the painting, holding palm branches in their hands, indicating that they did the way to Jerusalem. On the men's chest symbols of different knight orders and the coat of arms of Jerusalem are visible. The first and second person on the left are of particular importance, whose dresses are decorated with the ancient and still valid symbol of the Order of Cyprus, Knights of Sword and Silence: the sword upward stitched in the letter “S”. Another interesting thing is that the same second person from the left is holding two palm branches in his hand, which symbolizes his pilgrimage twice.

The third person on the right side is the painter himself, who went as a pilgrim to Jerusalem in 1520, to the tomb of Christ, to the Holy Sepulcher Church. The painting can be estimated as a very important historical document, because the almost 500 years old art -work records the symbols of that Knight Order, which had always got a very small membership in the course of its more than 800-year history; those members constituted the personal royal guards of the Cyprian Kings. The current membership of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus hardly exceeds 30 people.

Additional quality works of the extremely prolific painter, Jan van Scorel can be found in the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Centraal Museum in Utrecht (most of the painter's paintings are here). There are also works of the painter in the Bavarian museum, in Rome collections, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and in Venice.