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Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Audran

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AUDRAN, the name of a family of French artists and engravers, who for several generations were distinguished in the same line. The first who devoted himself to the art of engraving was Claude Audran, born 1592, and the last was Benoit, Claude s great-grandson, who died in 1712. The two most distinguished members of the family are the following :—

Audran, Gérard, or Girard, the most celebrated "French engraver, was the third son of Claude Audran, and was born at Lyons in 1640. He was taught the first principles of design and engraving by his father; and, following the example of his brother, went to Paris to perfect himself in his art. He there, in 1G66, engraved for Le Brun Constantine s Battle with Maxentius, his Triumph, and the Stoning of Stephen, which gave great satisfaction to the painter, and placed Audran in the very first rank of engravers at Paris. Next year he set out for Rome, where he resided three years, and engraved several fine plates. That great patron of the arts, M. Colbert, was so struck with the beauty of Audran s works, that he per suaded Louis XIV. to recall him to Paris. On his return he applied himself assiduously to engraving, and was appointed engraver to the king, from whom he received great encouragement. In the year 1681 he was admitted to the council of the Royal Academy. He died at Paris in 1703. His engravings of Le Brun s Battles of Alexander are regarded as the best of his numerous works, " He was," says the Abbe Fontenai, " the most celebrated engraver that ever existed in the historical line. We have several subjects, which he engraved from his own designs, that manifested as much taste as character and facility. But in the Battles of Alexander he surpassed even the expectations of Le Brun himself." Gerard published in 1683 a work entitled Les proportions du corps humain mesurees sur les jylus belles figures de Vantiquite, which has "been translated into English.

Audran, Jean, nephew of Gerard, was born at Lyons in 1667. After having received instructions from his father, he went to Paris to perfect himself in the art of engraving under his uncle, next to whom he was the most distin guished member of his family. At the age of twenty his genius began to display itself in a surprising manner ; and his subsequent success was such, that in 1707 he obtained the title of engraver to the king, Louis XIV, who allowed him a pension, with apartments in the Gobelins; and the following year he was made a member of the Royal Academy. He was eighty years of age before he quitted the graver, and nearly ninety when he died. The best prints of this artist are those which appear not so pleasing to the eye at first sight. In these the etching constitutes a great part ; and he has finished them in a bold, rough style. The Rape of the Salines, after Poussin, is con sidered his masterpiece.