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Hieronymus Cock (1510-1570)

Hieronymus Cock (1510 - 1570)

hieronymus CockBorn in Antwerp about 1520, Cock was painter, printmaker and art dealer as well as a print publisher. Son of Jan Wellens de Cock, brother of Matthijs. 1545 in St Luke Guild in Antwerp. He visited Rome in the late 1540s, which provided the impetus to start up his own publishing firm in Antwerp in 1548, 'Aux Quatre Vents'. He made a few of the plates himself, but most were commissioned from designers and engravers, orchestrated by Cock. It was to become the most important print publishing firm from outside Italy before his death in 1570. The firm was continued by his widow (Volcxken Diercx) until her death in 1600 (the inventory of her estate survives with a list of her plates). Many of the plates were later taken over by Philips Galle, a family friend and her executor.

Together with his wife Volcxken Diericx he was one of the first in Northern Europe to establish a publishing company for prints. From 1548 onwards their Aux Quatre Vents (At the Sign of the Four Winds) print-publishing house issued hundreds of important etchings and engravings. Prints after frescoes and paintings by Raphael and Bronzino, the first series of classical ruins and antique sculpture, as well as designs by Northern artists such as Maarten van Heemskerck, Frans Floris and Hans Vredeman de Vries were disseminated in large numbers all over Europe, helping to spread Renaissance ideals of beauty. It was Cock who had an eye for the talent of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, who was to supply him with over sixty designs for prints. Cock also took the initiative to produce engravings of some of Hieronymus Bosch's monumental imaginative compositions.

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