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Reinier van Persyn
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A Dutch engraver during Holland’s Golden Age, Reinier van Persyn is primarily known for his engraved portraits, many after designs by other artists. He also title pages for at least eighteen books and illustrations for many of them. Persyn was born in Alkmaar, north of Haarlem. He was the student of Cornelis Bloemaet the Younger (ca. 1603-1692) and Theodor Matham (ca. 1605-1676). He may have received this instruction in Rome, having gone there in 1633, the year Bloemaert and Matham are recorded as arriving in Rome. While in Rome Persyn apparently joined the group of Dutch artists called the Schildersbent (band of painters), who called themselves Bentvueghels (birds of a flock) and adopted nicknames; Persyn’s was Narcissus (Daffodil). While in Rome he worked with the artist and writer and fellow Bentvueghel Joachim von Sandrart (1606-1688) in documenting the collection of ancient sculpture of Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani (1564–1637). Published in about 1637, the first volume of Galleria Giustiniani contained thirty illustrations of sculptures engraved by Persyn after designs by Sandrart and others (Holl. 65). Bloemaert, Matham and others also contributed engravings to the book. Persyn apparently was back in Holland by the beginning of the 1640s. His twelve engravings of animals after designs by Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp (1594-1652), plus a frontispiece, Diversa Arnimalia Quadrupedia, was published in Amsterdam in 1641 by the printmaker and publisher Claes Jansz. Visscher (1586-1652). Persyn was living in Amsterdam in 1642, when he married Elisabeth Dirksz van Raemburgh. By 1645 he had moved to Gouda, where he lived for the rest of his life, although he may have visited Rome in 1646. His first wife apparently having died, he married again in 1656 to Maria Crabeth, the daughter of the glass painter Wouter Pietersz. Crabeth the Younger (ca. 1594-1644). The Dutch painter and etcher Aert van Waes (ca. 1200-after 1664) was probably a student. Although Persyn may have also been a painter, none of his paintings survive. He died in Gouda in 1668. (TNB 8/2012) Selected bibliography: Thieme, Ulrich and Felix Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der Bidenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, vol. 26, pp. 447-448. Leipzig: E. A Seeman, 1932.