LE CLERC, Sébastien I
(b. 1637, Metz, d. 1714, Paris)


Sébastien Le Clerc I (also Leclerc), printmaker, draughtsman and military engineer, part of a French family of artists. Laurent Le Clerc (1590-1695) was a goldsmith from Metz. The most prominent members of the Leclerc family were his son Sébastien Leclerc I and Sébastien's son Sébastien Le Clerc II. Another son of Sébastien Le Clerc, Louis-Auguste Le Clerc (1699-1771), was a sculptor and pupil of Antoine Coysevox; from 1735 he worked in Denmark, becoming professor at the Kongelige Akademi for de Skonne Kunster in Copenhagen. His son and pupil Jacques-Sébastien Le Clerc (1734-1785) became a painter, producing small-scale amorous scenes; from 1778 he taught at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris.

Sébastien Le Clerc I probably learnt the rudiments of drawing and engraving from his father, and also from Claude Bouchard, a copper-plate printer; however, he soon abandoned line engraving for etching. Le Clerc's earliest works that can be securely dated are from the years 1654-55. His first important series were the Life of St Benedict (1658-59) and Les Modes de Metz, later republished in Paris. Having also studied geometry, perspective and mathematics, Le Clerc became in 1660 a military engineer, working for Henri, Maréchal de La Ferté-Sénectere (1600-80), governor of Lorraine.

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