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Jacob Hoefnagel

1575 – Antwerp – ca. 1630

The son of Georg Hoefnagel, Jacob was born in Antwerp in 1575. In 1582, his name figures in the registers of the Antwerp guild of painters, but Jacob was probably trained by his father. In 1592, he published a series of etchings copied from drawings by his father, Georg Hoefnagel, with whom he worked between 1590 and 1600. In 1595, he made drawings based on his father's sketches, probably for Braun and Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum. It is likely he followed Georg to Prague where his presence is confirmed on 12th August 1599 (date indicated on a drawing, Budapest, Szépmüvészeti mùzeum, inv. no. 133). He very probably settled in this town from this moment on.

On 7th November 1602, he was appointed imperial Kammermaler. He married in 1604. On 2nd September he was paid the sum of seven thousand and twenty-eight guilders and twenty groschen for works he presented to the imperial court. In 1611, he worked directly on Braun and Hogenberg’s Civitates Orbis Terrarum; his contribution was in the form of drawings of towns in Bohemia and Hungary. A census in 1612 of people living at the court, carried out at the time of the death of Rodolphe II, mentions the name of Jacob Hoefnagel, followed by the title Contrafetter (portrait painter). Following complaints concerning outstanding payments submitted at a later date, he left the imperial service at the end of February 1612. Hainhofer reported that in 1612, Jacob Hoefnagel was living in Vienna. However, he returned to Prague in 1613 (according to the signature, date and location indicated on a work that was formerly part of the Popelandam collection in Amsterdam). In 1614, he became a citizen of Prague’s Malà Strana (Kleine Seite). In 1616, he received a back payment of five hundred thousand guilders as Gewester Cammermahler, paid to him by the imperial court. In 1617, he was nevertheless burdened with financial problems. A committed Calvinist, he supported the cause of the Protestant states in 1618 and later, that of the “Winter King”. Condemned to death in absentia, following the Battle of the White Mountain, he was therefore obliged to flee from Bohemia (1621). He settled in Holland where he was probably behind the publication of a work entitled Diversae Volatilium Icones, containing copies of drawings by Georg Hoefnagel. It was published in 1630. Jacob Hoefnagel died in Holland around this date.