Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Gerard Edelinck

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

EDELINCK, Gerard (16491707), one of the greatest copper-plate engravers, was born at Antwerp in 1649. The rudiments of the art, which he was to carry to a higher pitch of excellence than it had previously reached, he acquired in his native town under the engraver Cornelisz Galle. But he was not long in reaching the limits of his master's attainments; and then he went to Paris to improve himself under the teaching of De Poilly. This master likewise had soon done all he could to help him onwards, and Edelinck ultimately took the first rank among line engravers. His excellence was generally acknowledged; and having become known to Louis XIV. he was appointed, on the recommendation of Le Brun, teacher at the academy established at the Gobelins for the training of workers in tapestry. He was also entrusted with the execution of several important works. In 1677 he was admitted member of the Paris Academy of Painting and Sculpture. The work of this great engraver constitutes an epoch in the art. His prints number more than four hundred, and it is asserted that amongst them there is no work of poor or middling quality, although many of his subjects were poor and unworthy of the high art which he lavished upon them. Edelinck stands above and apart from his predecessors and contemporaries especially in this that he excelled, not in some one respect, but in all respects,—that while one engraver attained excellence in correct form, and another in rendering light and shade, and others in giving colour to their prints and the texture of surfaces, he, as supreme master of the burin, possessed and displayed all these separate qualities, and that in so complete a harmony that the eye is not attracted by any one of them in particular, but rests in the satisfying whole. Edelinck was the first to break through the custom of making prints square, and to execute them in the lozenge shape. Among his most famous works are a Holy Family, after Raphael; a Penitent Magdalene, after Charles le Brun; Alexander at the Tent of Darius, after Le Brun; a Combat of Four Knights, after Leonardo da Vinci; Christ surrounded with Angels; St Louis praying; and St Charles Borromeo before a crucifix,—the last three after Le Brun. Edelinck was especially good as an engraver of portraits, and executed prints of many of the most eminent persons of his time. Among these are those of Le Brun, Rigaud, Philippe de Champagne (which the engraver thought his best), Santeuil, La Fontaine, Colbert, John Dryden, Descartes, &c. He died at Paris in 1707. His younger brother John, and his son Nicholas, were also engravers, but did not attain to his excellence.