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Cornelis Galle I
Nationality: 
flemish
Gender: 
Male
Birth Date: 
1576
Birth Place: 
Antwerp
Death Date: 
1650
Death Place: 
Antwerp
One of a family of engravers and publishers who operated one of the most important print workshops in Antwerp during the 16th and 17th centuries, Cornelis Galle I is remembered for his reproductive engravings after Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), other contemporary Dutch and Flemish artists and Italian masters. He was the second son of Philip Galle (1537-1612), the draftsman, engraver and publisher who founded the workshop. Philip had moved to Antwerp in 1564 and became a master in the artists’ Guild of St. Luke in 1570. Both his older son Theodor (1571-1633) and Cornelis became his students, learning engraving and working in the family business. The two brothers went to Rome probably in the late 1590s, although some sources say they went there earlier in the decade. While in Italy Cornelis worked with Italian painters Giovanni Battista Paggi (1554-1627) and Francesco Vanni (1563-1610) and the printmaker and publisher Matteo Florimi (1580-1603). He also copied works by a number of Italian masters, such as Raphael (1483-1520), Titian (1488-1576) and Annibale Carracci (1560-1609), which he later reproduced as engravings. Cornelis returned to Antwerp sometime during the next decade, and in 1610 became a member of the Guild of St. Luke. He also founded a school that taught a number of important engravers. Galle began engraving works after Rubens around this time; one of the earliest is Judith Beheading Holofernes (Holl. 31), also known as the “Great Judith,” after a lost painting by Rubens. He went on to engrave dozens of works after Rubens, many of which were religious and devotional images, including twenty-one plates for a Passion series. Galle’s engravings include a number after Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) and Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), as well as his own designs. The close relationship between the Galle family and the Plantin-Moretus publishing house led to work engraving title pages and book illustrations, including many after Rubens. Galle was selected by Balthasar Moretus I (1574-1641) to provide two of the eight engraved illustrations for a book produced on the commission of the Bishop of Toledo, Philippus de Peralta, Officia propria sanctorum ecclesiae Toletanae (Offices of the Saints of the Church of Toledo, 1616). Galle contributed a Guardian Angel and The Annunciation. His brother Theodor also contributed a plate. Galle created fifty-four plates illustrating the book, Funeral Procession of Archduke Albert of Austria (1623, Holl. 292-345), after the Flemish architect and painter Jacques Francquart the Younger (ca. 1583-1651). He died in Antwerp in 1650. His son Cornelis Galle II (1615-1678) carried on the family engraving and publishing business. (TNB 2/2013)