Steven van Herwijck

(c. 1530—1565)

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(b Utrecht, c. 1530; d London, c. 1565). Dutch medallist. Although he was a skilled artist, his identity was not discovered until 1921. For many years the initials with which he signed his works were thought to stand for ‘Stephen of Holland’, a misconception that arose from speculation by George Vertue. His earliest medals, such as those depicting George van Egmond and Engelken Tols, date from 1558, when he was working in his native town. In 1559 he was working in Antwerp, where he produced several medals including the fine portrait of Jacobus Fabius, and in 1561 he portrayed King Sigismund II of Poland and other members of the Polish royal family. In 1562 he travelled to England and produced the first medals of private individuals to be made there. These portray William, Marquess of Northampton; Elizabeth, Marchioness of Northampton; William, Earl of Pembroke; Anne Heneage; Thomas Stanley; Richard Martin and Dorcas Eglestone; Edmund Withipoll (two different medals); Maria Dimock; and Michel de Castlenau (all 1562). All are cast and chased, and each is a masterpiece of portraiture. The reverse of the Stanley medal consists of a coat of arms in the Netherlandish tradition, but the delicately modelled allegorical reverses of others, such as the Pembroke and Dimock medals, and the elegant lettering clearly show the influence of 16th-century Italian medals. Van Herwijck's Bacchus and Ceres medals furnish additional evidence of the importance to him of Classical subject-matter. He must also have known the work of Jacques Jonghelinck. He had returned to Utrecht by 1564, as is demonstrated by the homely medal of Hillegoent van Alendorp, but by the time of his death he was again living in London with his family.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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