Etienne Delaune

Datesborn Italy, 1518/1519 - 1583

√Čtienne Delaune provided many designs for the much-admired decorative arts of France under King Henry II. He was recorded as a journeyman goldsmith in Paris in 1546 and worked briefly as the king's chief medallist at the royal mint in 1552. Although dismissed from that post, he continued working for the king: in 1556 he furnished designs for Henry's parade armor. Delaune took up engraving around 1557; his first dated prints, twelve plates illustrating the Old Testament and two designs for hand mirrors, appeared in 1561. The Italian artists of the School of Fontainebleau greatly influenced his draftsmanship and his engraving style. Delaune made hundreds of ornamental designs for jewelry and pictorial engravings, noteworthy for their decorative nature and their technical precision despite their often small size. His engravings helped to disseminate the Fontainebleau style among artists and craftsmen in France and abroad. As a Protestant, Delaune left Paris at the time of the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572, when the French government sanctioned the murdering of Huguenots. He took refuge in Strasbourg, a free city of the Holy Roman Empire, where he mainly stayed until his return to Paris in 1580.