Van MECKENEM Israel
(?? c. 1445 – Bocholt 1503)
German engraver and goldsmith first active in Kleve and later in Bocholt, a town in the north of Germany close to the border with the Netherlands. His father, Israhel Van Meckenem ‘the Elder’, was probably a goldsmith arrived in Bocholt in 1457 and was identified by some scholars with the primitive painter and engraver known as the Master of the Passion of Berlin. The unusual name Israhel could indicate a Jewish descent of the family, but the “van” could most probably derive from ancestors originating in the Netherlands.
Shortly before 1465, Israhel ‘the Younger’ was active in Cleves (now Kleve) where the family had moved.
After 1465 he spent a period of study in Bavaria where he perfected the art of burin in the workshop of Maestro ES, one of the most important engravers of the time, and where he reproduced about forty of his burins.
In 1480 he returned to Bocholt where he remained for the rest of his life, along with his wife Ida, continuing his work as a goldsmith and engraver. He was the most prolific engraver of the 15th century in Germany.
He produced subjects of his own invention and plates derived from subjects of other artists, particularly from Martin Shongauer and the young Dürer.
In the refined compositions of the period of its maturity, the late Gothic style of the German Renaissance school stands out.