L. & I. J. White


Tools and Trades in Art


Book Of Trades - Jan Luyken, 1694


Jan Luyken, born in Amsterdam April 16, 1649, was an important 17th Century artist and poet.  He worked primarily as an etcher following Rembrandt's period using copper plates.  As a poet, his work ranged from secular love songs to religious poetry.  His work as a lithographer became a very important influence on many artists following his period.

A year before his marriage, he published "De duyste lier" (German lyric) in 1671, a volume of poetry.  His religious poetry was inspired by the writings of the German mystic Jakob Bohme.  His Dutch contributions influenced several students and other novice poets, alike.

Though he never became famous for his work as a poet, he still continued to write to become closer to his Christian beliefs.  It was not until a year after his marriage in 1672 that he became baptized into his religion.  Much of his work following his baptism reflects this change in his life.

Luyken is most famous for his illustrated book "Het Menselyk Bedryf" - "Book of Trade", published in 1694.  His son Casper (1672-1708) assisted with the making of the book.  This book contained a collection of engravings from which he became famous.

On the following pages you can see the diversity of his style.  His ability to capture the comical side of his subject while remaining true to their spirit is captivating.  Ideally, you would assume his work to be that of children's book illustration, but he did not limit himself to this venture.  Instead, he focused on pursuits more geared to his rhythm of life.

Despite his career as a book illustrator and the success gained from this book publication, he withdrew from society and died in poverty April 5,1712. 

Engraving is a printing process in which the lines to be printed are cut into a metal (usually copper) plate.  The pictures of which some like the Copperplate printer, the Baker and the Apothecary have world-wide fame, are of exceptional quality.  Each picture has a moralistic verse with it.

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