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One of the Flemish Renaissance painters who had the most lasting influence on the art of the Netherlands was Jan Sanders van Hemessen. He was a member of the group of painters in Flemish painting who were Italianizing their art and taking their cues from the Italian Renaissance. His paintings were particularly influenced by the art of the Italian Renaissance and were considered to be some of the best works of the period. But despite the importance of his work in Dutch painting, he has been overshadowed by his contemporary, Rembrandt.

Hemessen's painting The Surgeon, from 1555, is considered one of the finest works of Flemish painting. This painting is housed in the Museum del Prado in Madrid. It is a superb example of genre painting and is considered one of the most important examples of Flemish realism. This oil on canvas depicts a surgeon removing a stone believed to be the "stone of madness." The quack who placed the stone had painted the image of a therapist in the first place, and the Quack painted the stone to confuse the quack's clients.

After becoming an apprentice to Hendrik van Cleve in 1519, Jan Sanders travelled to Italy where he painted a copy of Andrea del Sarto's Charity fresco in the Chiostro Scalzo in Florence. He returned to Antwerp and established a workshop in 1524. In 1545, he married Barbara de Fevere, the daughter of a wealthy Antwerp cloth merchant. His wife and daughters were also painters.

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