Léonard Gaultier

(c. 1561—1635)

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(b Paris, 1561; d Paris, c. 1635). French engraver, draughtsman, print publisher and dealer. He was the son of the goldsmith Pierre Gaultier, but probably not, as has been stated, the son-in-law of Antoine Caron and brother-in-law of Thomas de Leu. His first dated engravings (1576; Linzeler, 13–120) form part of a suite of 108 plates illustrating the New Testament. He was a very prolific engraver—his output reached at least 985 prints—and treated various genres, producing religious engravings, allegories, coats of arms and above all portraits and book illustrations. Although he copied the suite of engravings by Agostino dei Musi (c. 1490–after 1536) and B. Daddi after the fresco cycle of the Loves of Cupid and Psyche by Raphael (1483–1520) in the Farnesina, Rome (l 163–95), most of his work was from his own drawings. His work was published by a number of print publishers: Pierre Gourdelle (fl 1555–88) and, in 1591, by his wife (e.g. the Salvator Mundi, l 2, and the Virgin, l 125); by Jean Leclerc (c. 1557–1633; e.g. the Passage of the World, l 124); by Jean Rabel (1545–1603; e.g. portrait of Henri Cajetan, l 202); by Jacques Honnervogt (fl 1608–35), and by ‘Veuve Jacquet au Palais’ (e.g. portrait of Catherine de Bourbon, l 197)—but he most often published his engravings himself. Gaultier also sold prints at the sign of the Fleur de Lys d’Or in the Rue Saint-Jacques, Paris. His earliest prints show Italian influence (possibly through Etienne Delaune); he then came under German influence and later, with Thomas de Leu, contributed to the creation of a distinctively French school of engraving at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.