CALCAR, Jan Steven van
(b. ca. 1499, Calcar, d. ca. 1546, Napoli)


Jan Steven [Johannes Stephanus] van Calcar, North Netherlandish painter and draughtsman, active in Italy. He was a pupil of Titian's in Venice, c. 1536 or 1537, though not necessarily the pupil referred to as 'Stefano' by Marcantonio Michiel in 1532. Van Calcar spent most of his working life in Italy, travelling to Venice and throughout Emilia Romagna, before finally settling in Naples.

The only identifiable work by van Calcar mentioned in such early sources as Vasari, Lomazzo and van Mander is the series of designs for the highly influential woodcut illustrations in the anatomical treatise De humani corporis fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body, Basle, 1543) by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), who, considered the father of modern anatomy, held the chair of surgery in Padua from 1537. This seven-volume text contained the first accurate illustrations of internal human anatomy, based on Vesalius' careful dissections of human cadavers. Van Calcar's precise share in the project, however, is not clear. The strongly Titianesque character of the illustrations coincides with another old tradition, which dates back at least to Annibal Caro in the 1540s, crediting Titian himself with the designs for the treatise.