WIERIX, Flemish family of artists

Flemish family of artists. The family workshop was active mainly in Antwerp in the last quarter of the 16th century and the first quarter of the 17th. Anthonie Wierix the Elder (c. 1522–c. 1572) was a painter and engraver, his three sons, Anthonie the Younger (c. 1555/9–1604), Hieronymus (c. 1553–1619), and Jan (1549–1618), were trained as engravers in their father's studio. The three brothers began to engrave complex designs when they were still very young, and their precocity was accentuated by the declaration of their ages on their engravings. Hieronymus copied Dürer's St George when he was 12 and his St Jerome when he was 13; similarly, Jan copied Marcantonio Raimondi's Venus and Cupid at 14 and Dürer's Fall of Man at 16. In addition to these famous copies, the brothers produced more than 2.000 original engravings, many of which were devotional prints distributed by the Jesuits.

Although listed as Lutherans in 1585, it seems likely that the Wierix brothers returned to Catholicism soon afterwards, because much of their engraved work was commissioned by the Jesuits and other militant Counter-Reformation sects; their prints played an important role in the recapturing of the southern Netherlands for the Catholic Church. Despite this, all three brothers were famous for their disorderly conduct.

Anthonie the Younger's son, Anton Wierix III (1596-before 21 Sept 1624), who was probably trained by his uncle Hieronymus, joined the guild in 1621-22 but died too young to have had a significant oeuvre. In 1620 Christine, one of the daughters of Hieronymus, married the engraver Jan-Baptist Barbé (c. 1578-after 1649).

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