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Although the quality of his paintings should not be underestimated, Goltzius's fame rests on his work as a graphic artist. Notwithstanding his crippled right hand - fire maimed it, and he was unable to extend his fingers - he was an extraordinary technician and unsurpassed virtuoso of the engraver's burin and the pen.... he dazzled his contemporaries with his performances. ...his contemporaries admired above all his highly... (http://www.wga.hu/html_m/g/goltzius/selfport.html)
Hendrick Goltzius (Jan. or Feb. 1558 – 1 Jan. 1617); German-born Dutch printmaker, draftsman, and painter. The leading Dutch engraver of the early Baroque period, or Northern Mannerism, noted for his sophisticated technique and the "exuberance" of his compositions. ...Goltzius "was the last professional engraver who drew with the authority of a good painter and the last who invented many pictures for others to copy". In middle age he also began to produce paintings.
Born near Venlo in Bracht or Millebrecht.... His family moved to Duisburg when he was 3. After studying painting on glass for some years under his father, he learned engraving from the Dutch polymath Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert, who then lived in Cleves. In 1577 he moved with Coornhert to Haarlem in the Dutch Republic, where he remained based for the rest of his life.
Goltzius had a malformed right hand from a fire when he was a baby, which turned out to be especially well-suited to holding the burin; "by being forced to draw with the large muscles of his arm and shoulder, he mastered a commanding swing of line".
In the 1580s, Goltzius with his friends van Mander and the painter Cornelis van Haarlem, founded an art academy in Haarlem in emulation of those in France and Bologna, where the human figure could be studied from life and to provide a meeting-place for artists to discuss both practice and aesthetics.
At the age of 21 he married a widow somewhat advanced in years...