Jan Theodoor Toorop, son of a Dutch-Indonesian father and a British mother, was born on 20 December 20 1858 in Purworejo on Java in the Dutch East Indies. In 1869, he left Indonesia for the Netherlands and lived in Delft and Amsterdam. In 1880, Toorop became a student at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam. From 1882 to 1886, he lived in Brussels, where he joined Les XX (Les Vingts), a group of artists centered around James Ensor. After his marriage to the British Annie Hall in 1886, Toorop alternated his time between The Hague, Brussels and England. After 1890 Toorop also spent time in the Dutch seaside town of Katwijk aan Zee. During this period he developed his own unique Symbolist style, with dynamic, unpredictable lines based on Javanese motifs, highly stylized willowy figures, and curvilinear designs. Toorop died on 3 March 1928 in The Hague.
Like many artists of his time, Toorop would turn to Catholicism around 1905. In 1908 he even moved to Nijmegen, one of the oldest Dutch cities close to the German border and the center of Dutch Catholicism at the time. Through this church doctrine, Toorop developed more certainty in his mysticism while the church allowed him a clear iconography. From 1910 on, Toorop’s health prevented him from long hours behind the easel and he was limited to working with pencil and chalk. In addition, his interest in religious subject lent itself more for detailed drawings rather than execution in oils. Throughout Toorop’s career religious subjects appeared. Although he first worked on Christus Eucharistus in 1909, this subject further evolved into The worship of the crucified Jesus: instead of holding wine and bread, Christ is now nailed to the cross. A larger drawing in square format, The Pilgrim, followed in 1921.
The Hague, Koninklijke Kunstzaal Kleykamp, Tentoonstelling Jan Toorop, May – June 1921, cat.no. 26
Venice, Dutch pavilion, XIII Esposizione internatzionale d’Arte della citta Venezia (La Biennale), 1922, cat.no. 63
The Hague, Koninklijke Kunstzaal Kleykamp, Jan Toorop, May – June 1923, cat.no. 32
The Hague, Koninklijke Kunstzaal Kleykamp, Een belangrijke verzameling moderne schilderijen waaronder een groote collectie werken door Jan Toorop, 22 March 1927, cat.no. 69
Otto van Tussenbroek, Tentoonstelling Jan Toorop, The Hague 1921, cat.no. 26 Albert Plasschaert, Jan Toorop, Amsterdam 1925, pl. 1920.04 Julius de Boer, Jan Toorop, Amsterdam 1927, ill. 30 Kees van Hoek & Albert Plasschaert, Jan Toorop. Herdenking, Amsterdam 1930, no. 30