Dutch, 1558 - 1617
Hendrick Goltzius, who was born in the Lower Rhine region of Germany, came from a long line of artists: his great-grandfather and grandfather were both painters in Venlo, and his father, Jan Goltz II (1534–after 1609), was a glass painter in Duisburg. The art theorist
Goltzius was renowned as a graphic artist and produced prints and drawings using a variety of techniques, including metalpoint, brush and ink, and chalk. He was also a pioneer in the art of “pen-painting,” a technique he invented in which pen is used directly on canvas to mimic the look of a print. Goltzius impressed his contemporaries with these large, monochromatic works, which were admired for their high degree of detail and innovative process of execution.
Goltzius’ early works from the late 1580s reflect the influence of international mannerism, a style characterized by long, attenuated figures and highly dynamic compositions, promulgated by the artist
In about 1600 Goltzius added painting to his already long list of talents. It has been speculated that the artist’s failing eyesight played a part in his decision to begin painting, which did not require the precision of printmaking. It is possible, however, that his decision was prompted by his friend and biographer Van Mander, for whom painting was the highest form of art. In 1612 Goltzius was visited by
 Huigen Leeflang et al., Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617): Drawings, Prints, and Paintings (Zwolle, 2003), 265–266.
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.,
April 24, 2014