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A self-taught artist, Joris Hoefnagel was significant to Dutch art in
several ways. He was the last significant manuscript illuminator
and was one of the first to use still life as a subject for oil
paintings. Described as a "true Renaissance man", (Getty)
he also was a poet, musician, topographer, engraver, prolific miniature
painter and mapmaker.
His parents were wealthy as his father was a successful diamond
merchant, which allowed him much travel as a youth. Going to
England, France and Spain, he did topographical drawings of places he
visited, and these were later used in a six-volume atlas set. In
1577, after the invasion of Antwerp by Spain, Hoefnagel traveled south
with Abraham Ortelius, a cartographer. On this trip, he agreed to
become court artist in Munich to the Duke of Bavaria, Albert V.
Then in 1591 in Prague, he was appointed court artist to Rudolf II,
Holy Roman Emperor, who had an extensive art collection and a 'cabinet
of curiousities'. en
During the time he was working for the Duke of Bavaria, Hoefnagel
finished a series of natural history miniatures that were published in
several volumes in book form. Then when he was with Rudolf II, he
added illuminations to a 30 year old manuscript by the scribe Georg
Bocskay. Included in his illuminations were animals and plants
illustrating natural history. He also did engravings for Abraham
Ortellius, who did what is regarded as the first modern atlas.
Joris Hoefnagel died in Vienna in 1601.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joris_Hoefnagel
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