(b. 1595, Zaltbommel, d. 1675, Antwerpen)

Holy Family with St John and St Elizabeth

Copperplate engraving, 265 x 205 mm
Rockox House, Antwerp

Lucas Vorsterman was one of the best engravers working for Rubens. He engraved the Holy Family with St John and St Elizabeth after the design of Rubens.

Rubens from the very early on set about looking for copperplate engravers able to submerge themselves in his style and to reproduce the effects of his brushwork. As Cornelis Galle's style was rather dry, Rubens turned to the engravers of the Goltzius school, Pieter Soutman, Willem Swanenburgh, Egbert van Panderen, Andriesz Stock and Jacob Matham. He supervised their work and directed the commercial exploitation of the business himself. The plates were made from monochromes specially prepared by him or his collaborators.

Lucas Vorsterman engraved about fourteen prints which represent the acme of Rubensian art in black and white. But at the end of two years, Rubens quarrelled with Vorsterman who even went so far as to threaten to kill him. Vorsterman was succeeded by his pupil Paulus Pontius, who accentuated the colourist tendency of his craft.