The son of an engraver, glass-painter and draughtsman, Jacques de Gheyn II was one of the most imaginative and creative draughtsmen of the Golden Age. He studied first with his father before moving to Haarlem in 1585, where he came under the powerful influence of Hendrick Goltzius (q.v.) and the Haarlem Academy, whose Mannerist forms . He moved to Leiden in the mid-1590s and then on to The Hague in 1605, where the Huygens family were among his closest neighbours. He enjoyed great success in The Hague, receiving commissions from a network of influential patrons, most significantly Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange (1567–1625) and, after Maurice’s death, his brother Frederick Henry (1584–1647).
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