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Crispijn de Passe the Elder

1564 Arnemuiden – 1637 Utrecht

Crispijn de Passe was the progenitor of a widely ramified and productive dynasty of engravers. A native of Arnemuiden in the Dutch province of Zeeland, the artist was probably trained by Dirck Volckertsz. Coornhert, who had also taught Hendrick Goltzius. In 1585 Passe became a member of the Antwerp Guild and shortly afterwards began to work for the famous publishing house of Christoph Plantin. As a result of Spanish religious persecution in Flanders the artist’s family emigrated in the 1590s to Aachen and later to Cologne, where Crispijn was active from around 1594 to 1612. In the latter year de Passe and his family finally moved to the Dutch city of Utrecht, since Crispijn as a Mennonite Baptist was under suspicion of heresy. By 1613 the artist had already been granted citizenship in his new home town. The de Passe family business was remarkably productive, as is documented by an output of over 1,300 individual prints and 49 illustrated works.