Lucas van Leyden
Netherlandish, 1489/1494 - 1533
Leyden, Lucas Hugensz van


As his name implies, Lucas van Leyden was born in Leiden. 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. Opinion is divided over the question of Lucas' status as a wunderkind and several scholars believe it more likely that he was born around 1489. There is no confirming documentary evidence for either date. Lucas is mentioned in 1514 in the register of the civil guard in Leiden, 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. According to Van Mander, Lucas made a second journey through the southern Netherlands, perhaps in 1527, when he met Jan Gossaert in Middelburg. If we believe Van Mander, the artist's health deteriorated drastically following this trip and Lucas, who thought he had been poisoned by an envious colleague, was often ill and bedridden. Lucas died in Leiden in the summer of 1533. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]


Friedländer, Max J. Lucas van Leyden. Berlin, 1963.
Vos, Rik. Lucas van Leyden. Bentveld and Maarsen, 1978.
Vos, Rik. "The Life of Lucas van Leyden by Karel van Mander." Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 29 (1978): 459-507.
Hand, John Oliver and Martha Wolff. Early Netherlandish Painting. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1986: 140.

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