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Hendrik Goltzius - Dutch Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Hendrik Goltzius (1558 - 1617)

After moving to Haarlem at the age of nineteen, Hendrick Goltzius married a rich widow who funded the establishment of his workshop. He spent his life in the city except for a yearlong trip to Germany and Italy in 1590 that brought him into contact with classical and naturalistic art. His panoramic landscapes were forerunners for later Dutch artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn. Goltzius was best known for his printmaking but has to abandon the medium in 1600 due to his failing eyesight and inability to work with painstaking engraving tools. Although he believed that printmaking was inferior to painting, he died in 1617 without reaching the same quality in his paintings as he had in his engravings. He was the leading Dutch engraver of the early Baroque period, or Northern Mannerism, noted for his sophisticated technique and the "exuberance" of his compositions. His portraits, though mostly miniatures, are masterpieces of their kind, both on account of their exquisite finish, and as fine studies of individual character. Of his larger heads, the life-size portrait of himself is probably the most striking example. His masterpieces, so called from their being attempts to imitate the style of the old masters, have perhaps been overpraised. Goltzius brought to an unprecedented level the use of the "swelling line", where the burin is manipulated to make lines thicker or thinner to create a tonal effect from a distance. He also was a pioneer of "dot and lozenge" technique, where dots are placed in the middle of lozenge shaped spaces created by cross-hatching to further refine tonal shading.

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