(c. 1489/94-1533)
According to the early seventeenth-century art historian Karel van Mander, Lucas van Leyden was precocious, engraving his first works at age nine and becoming equally accomplished in painting, glass painting, and engraving. Born in Leiden, Lucas trained first with his father, Hugo Jacobsz, and later with Cornelis Engebrechtz.
Mohammed and the Monk Sergius, a subject taken from the fourteenth-century Travels of Sir John Mandeville, is Lucas's earliest dated work signed with his "L" monogram. Influenced by the German master printmaker, Albrecht Dürer,* Mohammed and the Monk Sergius in turn inspired the background of Italian engraver Marcantonio Raimondi's* print after Michelangelo's* Battle of the Cascina. Another early print, the 1510 Ecce Homo, set in Leiden's city square, inspired Rembrandt in his later treatment of the subject.
Van Mander considers an engraved portrait of Emperor Maximilian to be Lucas's most outstanding work, while the sixteenth-century Italian art historian Giorgio Vasari* praises Lucas for his 1509 engraving, The Conversion of St. Paul, declaring it better than Durrer in capturing subtle, realistic light effects and in its delicate technique. More significant in terms of content are his 1514 and 1517 woodcut series of The Power of Women, depicting women betraying or triumphing over men.
Lucas showed similar virtuosity in his painting. His Last Judgment triptych, for the Church of St. Peter in Leiden, depicts hell in the manner of his fellow Dutch artist, Hieronymus Bosch, with fantastic devils and monsters. Here Lucas excels in his idealized treatment of the nude figure, his vibrant color, and his rationally conceived perspective. Another late work, Healing of the Blind, an­ticipates the development of seventeenth-century landscape painting with its low horizon line.
Lucas worked most of his life in Leiden, except for two trips to the southern Netherlands, where he met Durrer in 1521 and Jan de Mabuse and other Flemish artists in 1522. Unfortunately he contracted an illness during the last trip and spent much of his last six years in bed, where he continued to paint and engrave with specially adapted tools, according to van Mander. Lucas van Leyden died in 1533, eulogized by the poet Dominicus Lampsonius in a Latin poem for bringing fame to his birthplace, Leiden.
E. S. Jacobowitz and S. L. Stepanek, The Prints ofLucas van Leyden and His Contem­poraries, 1983.
E. L. Smith, The Paintings ofLucas van Leyden: A New Appraisal with Catalogue Raisonne, 1992.
Susan H. Jenson

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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