- about 1480 - 1552
Frans Crabbe van Espleghem, one of the leading artists in Mechelen, the capital of the southern Netherlands, began his career painting
In 1539 Crabbe acquired the workshop of an artist who had introduced the South German etching technique to the North. Crabbe was one of etching's earliest Netherlandish practitioners. He also worked as an engraver and woodcutter, but his etching was notable for success in a medium that his contemporaries considered limited. Using only lines, he depicted striking lighting and atmospheric conditions and created graphic equivalents for painting. Combining the Netherlandish restraint of gesture and interest in light and shadow with the dashing, delicate pen work of contemporary German artists, Crabbe made precise preparatory drawings for his etchings.