Mühlbrecht 1558 – Haarlem 1617
Goltzius was the greatest exponent of Dutch Mannerism, renowned in the Netherlands and elsewhere for his technical skill and virtuosity. He was one of the last great masters of copperplate engraving before this printing method took second place to the more flexible and personal etching technique in the seventeenth century. After being trained as a copperplate engraver, Goltzius worked for renowned publishers of prints in Antwerp before he founded his own publishing house in Haarlem in 1582. Goltzius was in close contact with the most important Dutch artists and particularly with the chief art theorist of his day, Karel van Mander; he got also in touch with Bartholomeus Spranger, the influential court painter of the Holy Roman Emperor in Prague. Goltzius developed a copperplate technique suited to translate Spranger’s elegant, affected, and figure-oriented mannerism into the medium of printing. His graphic means consist in virtuoso, elaborately swelling and subsiding lines and flexible hatchings that emphasize the plasticity of forms and unfold a calligraphic quality of their own. Though Goltzius gave up Spranger’s style after only a few years, his pupil Jan Harmensz. Muller continued to work in this elegant mannerist mode. Goltzius, who always experimented with new techniques and forms like with the chiaroscuro woodcut, came to prefer a calmer and clearer language of forms informed by Antiquity and the Italian Renaissance under the influence of a tour through Italy in 1590 and 1591. Around 1600, he entrusted his stepson Jacob Matham with the management of his publishing house, gave up his work as a printmaker, and committed himself to painting until his death.
Leiden 1494 - 1533
As his name implies, Lucas van Leyden was born in Leyden. There is some controversy over the date of his birth. Carel van Mander in Het Schilder Boek of 1604 says that Lucas was born in 1494 and thus his earliest dated engraving, Mohammed and the Monk Sergius, 1508, is the work of a fourteen year old prodigy. Several scholars believe, today, that it is more likely that he was born around 1489; but there is no confirming documentary evidence for either date. Lucas is mentioned in 1514 in the register of the civil guard in Leyden, and in 1515 and 1519 his name is listed among the crossbowmen of that city. Sometime around 1515 he married the daughter of a Leiden magistrate. Albrecht Dürer`s diary entry and his silverpoint drawing of Lucas (Musée Wicar, Lille) confirm that the two artists met each other in Antwerp in 1521. Lucas van Leyden was among the first Dutch exponents of genre painting and is generally regarded as a very accomplished engraver, possibly the most important engraver of the Renaissance in the Netherlands.He learned the basic techniques of painting from his father and from Cornelis Engelbrechtsz: but we do not know where he learnt engraving. Surely, he took advantage of the works of Marcantonio Raimondi, whose motifs are reworked in Lucas` engravings and paintings, and became highly skilled in that art.