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Domenicus Custos

circa 1559/60 Antwerp – 1615 Augsburg

Domenicus Custos, who hailed from Flanders, was the son of the Antwerp painter, Pieter Balten, and the father of Raphael, David and Jacob Custos, all of whom he trained to be engravers. His stepsons, Lukas and Wolfgang Kilian, were also appren­ticed to him. In the early 1580s Custos moved for what were probably religious reasons from Antwerp to Augsburg, where he married the widow of the engraver, Bartholomäus Kilian, in 1588. He set up a strictly run and flourishing engraving workshop there based on the Antwerp model, employing his sons as assistants. Custos played a seminal role in the spread of engraving in Germany. Apart from a series of portraits of the Fugger family and the Tyrolean princes his publishing company issued individual reproductive engravings, emblem books and illustrated literary and theological works. Custos’ engraving tech­nique reveals the influence of the Prague style and Dutch Mannerism, especially the example set by Hendrick Goltzius.