Hendrick Goltzius (1558 - 1617)



A large part of what we know about Hendrick Goltzius’ life was compiled by the

art biographer Carel van Mander (1548–1606). His Schilderboek (the book of

painters), published in 1604, provided the first treatise on art theory, and served

as both a technical manual, and a source of inspiration, for aspiring young Dutch

artists. Peppered with entertaining anecdotes, van Mander stages Goltzius as an

innovative and confident artist who embraced experimentation and rejected art

that merely reproduced the world.

Born in 1558 in Mulbracht (present-day Bracht, municipality of Brüggen),

Goltzius was trained in the art of engraving by Dirck Volkertzoon Coornhert

(1522–1590) and Philips Galle (1537–1612). At the age of 24, he established

himself as a publisher, in order to publish his own works independently. During

a trip to Italy in 1590/91, he produced drawings of antique artworks in-situ,

which would go on to influence his style for years to come. Headstrong and

never quite content – this is how van Mander ultimately describes Goltzius, the

virtuoso who turned away from printmaking in 1600 and dedicated the rest of

his life exclusively to painting.

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