(b Mühlbracht [now Bracht-am-Niederrhein], Jan./Feb. 1558; bur. Haarlem, 1 Jan. 1617). Dutch printmaker, draughtsman, and painter of German descent, one of the most influential figures of his time in northern European art. He was the best-known line engraver of his day (he also made a few etchings) and the leader of a group of Mannerist artists who worked in Haarlem, where he founded some kind of ‘academy’ (perhaps a life class) with Cornelis van Haarlem and Karel van Mander.
In 1590–1 he visited Rome and after this his style became more classical. Goltzius's right hand was crippled, but in spite of this handicap he was renowned for his technical virtuosity and for his skill in imitating the work of other great engravers such as Dürer and Lucas van Leyden. In his early career much of his work was reproductive, but he also produced many original compositions, including a splendid series on Roman Heroes (1586). His portrait drawings were also outstanding, and the landscape drawings he made after 1600 mark him as a forerunner of the great 17th-century landscape artists. His paintings are generally less interesting than his drawings and much less advanced stylistically.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)