René Boyvin

(c. 1525—1625)

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(b Angers, c. 1525; d ?Angers, c. 1625). French engraver, etcher and designer. Vasari, in his Vita of Marcantonio Raimondi, mentions that ‘after the death of Rosso [Fiorentino], we saw the arrival from France of all the engravings of his works’. He attributed this upsurge of engraved reproductions ‘to the copperplate engraver René’, that is René Boyvin. He came to Paris c. 1545 from Angers. In 1553 he completed two plates that the engraver Paul Milan had failed to finish for the music publisher Guillaume Morlaye (c. 1510-after 1558); one of these was the Nymph of Fontainebleau (Levron, 169). He later opened his own workshop, but his production was intermittent, because he was persecuted and for a time imprisoned for his Calvinist beliefs. The canon of his work is problematical, in part because of confusion between his work and that of Milan. In his most famous work, Le Livre de la conqueste de la toison d’or par le Prince Iason de Tessalie (1563), which reproduced the drawings of Léonard Thiry (fl 1536; d 1550) in 26 plates, Boyvin displayed a particular aptitude for chiaroscuro effects. Although he was primarily a reproductive engraver, Boyvin also designed and executed numerous refined decorative prints that served as models for goldsmiths and jewellers (e.g. the Panneaux d’ornements and the Livre de bijouterie).

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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