Hubertus Goltzius


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(b Venlo, 30 Oct 1526; d Bruges, 2 March 1583). Flemish humanist, printmaker, publisher, painter and numismatist. He was the son of Rutger den Meeler (Rutger van Weertsburg) and Catherina Goltzius, whose family name was taken by her husband. After studying in Venlo, Hubertus was sent to Luik (Liège) to the academy of Lambert Lombard, to whom he was apprenticed until 1546. He then moved to Antwerp, where he became a member of the Guild of St Luke and took on Willem Smout as his pupil. Before 1550 Goltzius married Elisabeth Verhulst Bessemers, a painter from Mechelen, with whom he had four sons and three daughters. Her sister Mayken Verhulst was the second wife of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, which brought Goltzius into artistic circles. Goltzius was active in Antwerp as a painter and antiques dealer, but the only painting that can be attributed to him with certainty is the Last Judgement (1557) for the town hall at Venlo. In Antwerp he was introduced by his friends to prominent numismatists, for whom he made drawings of coins and began a system of their classification. For the same purpose Goltzius undertook a study trip in 1556 through the Netherlands and the Rhine Valley. The results of his investigations appeared in Vivae omnium fere imperatorum imagines (Antwerp, 1557), published by Gillis Coppens van Diest (fl 1543–73). The work was subsequently published in four other languages, the frontispiece in each edition, including the original, being printed in four different stages: one for the engraved text, two woodcut tone-blocks, and one woodcut key-block for the finer lines. Goltzius was apparently one of the first printers to combine woodcut and engraving in a single frontispiece (see Woodcut, chiaroscuro). The copies of the imperial portraits published in the books are executed in a cameo technique.


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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