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Christoffel van Sichem

1546–1624, Amsterdam

Christoffel van Sichem, son of the bookseller Cornelis Karelsz. who hailed from Sichem (Brabant), was briefly active in Antwerp in the 1560s, subsequently living and working in Basle, where he remained from about 1568 to 1597. Even as a young man van Sichem had worked in the woodcut medium, as is documented by a number of book illustrations for Straßburger Drucke (see Hollstein 140–147). In 1598 the artist moved to Amsterdam; in 1603 he is known to have been temporarily in Leiden, before settling down in Amsterdam again the following year. In this period van Sichem turned once again with success to the woodcut and created a few masterpieces in this medium, which in their mastery of forms and technical treatment differ markedly from his early work and occupy an absolutely unique position in Dutch printmaking of the early 17th century. Some of these works are based on models by Hendrick Goltzius, so it may be assumed that these woodcuts are the result of a direct collaboration with that master.