Jacob Matham
Nationality: 
dutch
Gender: 
Male
Birth Date: 
1571
Birth Place: 
Haarlem
Death Date: 
1631
Death Place: 
Haarlem
Trained by his stepfather Hendrik Goltzius (1558-1617), Jacob Matham became a leading engraver, draftsman and print publisher in early 17th-century Haarlem. Born to parents from prosperous Catholic families, he was baptized on October 15, 1571. His father died during the 1572 siege of Haarlem. Matham’s mother married Goltzius in 1579; he was later adopted by Goltzius. He probably began working in the Goltzius workshop around 1584; Goltzius created a portrait of him at age thirteen about then. Scholars speculate that Matham may have worked on prints made in the Goltzius workshop in 1588, and in 1589 his first signed engraving was printed. During the next year he engraved other plates after designs by his stepfather. Goltzius traveled to Italy in October 1590, returning about ten months later. Mathammay have handled the business of the workshop during that time. In 1592 four prints engraved by Matham after Karel van Mander (1548-1606) were published, as well as other works he engraved after Goltzius, with more in 1593. Traveling with the painter Frans Badens (1571-1618), Matham went to Venice in the spring of 1593. He made drawings after Titian (ca. 1488-1576), Jacopo Tintoretto (1519-1594) and Paolo Veronese (1528-1588). He engraved nine plates while in Venice, which he sent back to Goltzius in Haarlem for publication. Matham and Badens went to Rome in 1595. While there Matham made an engraving after a Raphael (1483-1520) fresco, Apollo on Mount Parnassus (N. Holl. 177), and another of Cupid Conquering Pan (N. Holl. 179), after a just-completed fresco by the Cavalier d’Aprino (1568-1640). He created six religious prints that were published in Rome. Matham returned to Haarlem in 1597 and resumed engraving in the Goltzius workshop, reproducing designs by Goltzius and others. One of the best known depicts a sperm whale beached on the Dutch coast in 1598 (N. Holl. 202), a subject he would repeat in 1601. In either 1598 or 1599 he married Maritge Willemdr. Van Poelenburch, a member of a prominent Catholic family in Haarlem. They had four sons, three of whom became artists: Adriaen (1599-1660), Theodor (1605/6-1676) and Jan (ca. 1606-1648). The first prints published with Matham’s name and address as publisher appeared in 1599. He joined the artists’ Guild of St. Luke in 1600, and was the dean for 1605 and on five subsequent occasions. Goltzius stopped engraving to focus on painting sometime around 1600, and Matham took charge of the workshop, engraving and supervising publishing and engraving by others. After the expiration in 1601 of Goltzius’s imperial privilege to publish, Matham obtained an indefinite imperial privilege from Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552-1612). Matham continued making and publishing prints after Goltzius died in 1617. In addition to his sons, he trained several artists, including Jan van de Velde II (ca. 1593-1641) and Cornelis Kittensteyn (1598-1652). He made and published a wide range of prints, including works on religious, allegorical and historical subjects. He published old plates made by Goltzius and not previously published, new plates based on Goltzius drawings, as well as prints after Venetian masters based on drawings he made while in Venice. He was a prolific artist, with some 284 prints attributed to him, with 75 more tentatively attributed, and an additional 81 engraved by others to his designs. After he died in 1631, his sons continued the family’s artistic tradition. (TNB 11/2012) Selected bibliography: Widerkehr, Léna. “Introduction,” in The New Hollstein Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, 1450-1700, Jacob Matham. 3 vols. Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel: Sound & Vision Publishers, 2007.