(b Antwerp, c. 1545; d Antwerp, 1592). Flemish woodcutter and engraver. He entered the Guild of St Luke in Antwerp as a pupil of Bernard van de Putte (1528–80) in 1558–9 and is known primarily for the book illustrations that he executed while working for Christoph Plantin. Van Leest depicted a wide range of subjects in his woodcuts, including biblical themes in several editions of the New Testament (Flem. edns, 1571 and 1578; Fr. edn, 1573) and allegorical images such as those in J. B. Houwaert's Declaratie van die triumphante incompst van den … prince van Oraignien binnen die princelijke stadt van Brussele, 1578 (‘Declaration of the triumphal entry of the … Prince of Orange into the princely city of Brussels, 1578; Antwerp, 1579), which contains images alluding to contemporary politics. There are images of figures in exotic costume in Sluperius's Omne fere gentium (Antwerp, 1572) and in Nicolas de Nicolay's Les Navigations pérégrinations et voyages faicts à la Turquie (Antwerp, 1576) and vignettes with geometrical and allegorical figures in Cornelis Gemma's De arte cyclognomica (Antwerp, 1575–8). Van Leest also made medical vignettes to illustrate Gemma's De naturis divinis … spectaculis (Antwerp, 1575). Finally, examples of botanical illustrations by the artist can be found in works by C. Clusius and R. Dodonaeus.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Renaissance Art.