Maarten van Heemskerck or Marten Jacobsz Heemskerk van Veen (1498 – 1 October 1574) was a Dutch portrait and religious painter, known for his depictions of the Seven Wonders of the World.
He was born at Heemskerk, North Holland, halfway between Alkmaar and Haarlem.
His father was a small farmer, Jacob Willemsz. van Veen (whose portrait he painted). According to his biography, written by Karel van Mander, he was apprenticed to Cornelis Willemsz in Haarlem. Recalled after a time to the paternal homestead and put to the plough or the milking of cows, young Heemskerk took the first opportunity that offered to run away, and demonstrated his wish to leave home for ever by walking in a single day the 80 km which separate his native hamlet from the town of Delft. There he studied under Jan Lucasz whom he soon deserted for his contemporary Jan van Scorel of Haarlem. Even today, many of Heemskerck's paintings are mistaken for work by van Scorel. He boarded at the home of the wealthy Pieter Jan Foppesz (the van Mander spelling is Pieter Ian Fopsen), curate of the Sint-Bavokerk. He knew him because he owned a lot of land in Heemskerck. This is the same man whom he painted in a now famous family portrait, considered the first of its kind in a long line of Dutch family paintings.
Family of Pieter Jan Foppesz. - painted before he left for his Italy trip in 1532.
In 1532 he started on a Grand Tour, with the purpose of seeing and painting the seven wonders of the world, and during which he visited the whole of northern and central Italy, stopping at Rome, where he had letters of introduction from van Scorel for the influential Dutch cardinal William of Enckenvoirt. Before he left, he painted a scene of St. Luke painting the Virgin as an altarpiece for the St. Luke's altar in the Bavokerk. On the bottom it states in a tromp l'oeil paper that he painted it for his comrades. It is evidence of the facility with which he acquired the rapid execution of a scene-painter that he was selected to co-operate with Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Battista Franco and Francesco de' Rossi (Il Salviati) to re-decorate the Porta San Sebastiano at Rome as a triumphal arch (5 April 1536) in honour of Charles V. Giorgio Vasari, who saw the battle-pieces which Heemskerk then produced, said they were well composed and boldly executed.