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Achievements of the Stichting Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen (2000-2014)

The sixteenth-century painter and printmaker Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen (ca. 1470-1533) is considered by art historians as one of the greatest Dutch masters from this period. Yet, until recently, his meticulously executed paintings and numerous woodcuts were largely unknown to the general audience. In order to increase Jacob’s fame, Egbert and Barbara van Wijk founded the Stichting Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen (Foundation Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen) in 2000 in the master’s native village, Oostzaan (10 km north of the centre of Amsterdam). The Foundation ends its activities after the summer of 2014 because its goals have been achieved. This website is retained as a work of reference.

Our most important achievements are summarised below.

For extensive information in English about Jacob Cornelisz. and his works, you can visit


Het-vroegste-Amsterdamse-schetsboek-2dln-in-cassetteA pocket-size sketchbook from the period 1520-1535 has been preserved from Jacob’s workshop. The Foundation Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen has always dreamed of publishing this extremely rare testimony of early sixteenth-century workshop practice, which is now kept in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin. After years of preparation and extensive research of the original sketchbook by art historian Ilona van Tuinen, the moment was finally there in March 2014: the Foundation presented Het vroegste Amsterdamse schetsboek: the first facsimile edition of the entire sketchbook (ca. 15 x 10 cm), accompanied by page-by-page comments and a general introduction. In a separate contribution, Daantje Meuwissen tentatively suggests that the drawings in this booklet were made by Cornelis Anthonisz., Jacob’s grandson who is known to have been working in his grandfather’s workshop and who later became well-known as a cartographer.

The sketchbook displays a high diversity in subject matter: the sketches range from copies after paintings by Jacob and his workshop, to portraits, figure studies, cityscapes, animals, perspective studies, and renaissance ornaments. Apparently the artist always had his booklet ready to hand. It can be seen as a sample of the many kinds of techniques and subjects a young artist had to master before he could start a career of his own. It did not only offer him an overview of his progress and a means to collect motifs he thought worth remembering, but also a rich source of elements that he probably kept using in his later career.

Order a copy of Het vroegste Amsterdamse schetsboek
Read more about the sketchbook in Dutch


monument-avondIn 2010 a monument for Jacob was revealed in the heart of Oostzaan, right in front of the church. The intriguing design was made at the initiative of the Foundation by architect Eva Stache and executed by Meyn Food Processing Technology, Oostzaan. At every moment of the day, from every angle, the monument offers a different viewing experience – just like Jacob’s multi-layered paintings do. Eva Stache based Jacob’s portrait in the monument on the double portrait that was painted of him and his wife Anna around 1530 by their son Dirck Jacobsz. (now in the Toledo Museum of Art, USA).

Read more about Jacob’s monument in Dutch


  • 2000: overview of Jacob’s work in high quality reproductions Grote Kerk Oostzaan
    In 2000 the Foundation started its existence with a highly successful exhibition, the first in history to be entirely devoted to this 16th-century master. High quality reproductions in actual size were shown of 30 paintings and 36 woodcuts. In Oostzaan, the exhibition attracted over 3,500 visitors. Afterwards the replicas have been on show in Amsterdam, Naarden, Ameide, and Mijdrecht.
  • 2003: ‘Ondertekend’, about underdrawings in the paintings of Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen – Groningen, Harmoniecomplex / Oostzaan, Grote Kerk
    Infrared reflectography is a technology with which the underdrawings below the paint layers of a painting can be made visible. The infrared rays make carbon materials visible, such as a preparatory drawing in charcoal. After several of Jacob’s paintings had been examined with this technology, the results were presented to a wide audience in this exhibition. It was organised under the supervision of Daantje Meuwissen and Micha Leeflang by seven students of the University of Groningen. By showing infrared photos of seven paintings next to reproductions of the paintings, the exhibition enabled viewers to compare the preparatory drawings with the end results.
  • 2014: Van Oostsanen, the first Dutch master – Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar, Amsterdam Museum, and Grote Kerk Alkmaar
    From 15 March to 29 June 2014 the first monographic exhibition ever was held with the original works by Jacob Cornelisz.: Van Oostsanen – de eerste Hollandse meester. Guest curator was Dr Daantje Meuwissen, member of our Foundation’s board. The exhibition was spread over three locations (Amsterdam Museum, Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar and Grote Kerk Alkmaar). In addition, touristic routes for car, bike and hike lead along important places where Jacob has lived and worked.
    Exhibition website in Dutch:


Jacobsbode 24, juli 2013, pag. 1Between 2001 and 2014 the Foundation published the Jacobsbode, a half-yearly newsletter with (academic) articles and the latest news and events regarding Jacob Cornelisz. and his work.

Contents of all Jacobsbodes in Dutch