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Israël Silvestre

1621 Nancy
1691 Paris

The artist Israel Silvestre the Younger, who came from a French painter, illustrator, and engraver family of the 16th Century, was born on August 13, 1621 in Nancy. He already lost his parents in 1631 and went to Paris to be with his uncle Israel Henriet. The latter accepted him as a student and promoted the artistic talent of his nephew, which was evident at a young age. In addition, Silvestre studied with Jacques Callot (1592–1635) and met his friend Stefano della Bella (1610–64).
In 1640, the artist took his first trip through Italy, which was followed by others in 1643–44 and 1653. In 1659, he finally settled in Paris with his uncle but the latter died in 1661. Israël Silvestre took on the French nationality in this year. Two years later, he was appointed as the court painter and engraver by the French King Louis XIV (1638–1715). By commission of the French Minister of the Navy and Finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619–83), the artist travelled through Lorraine and the Champagne in order to chronicle the newly conquered places in 1665. Altogether, the etched work by the artist covered more than 1000 pages and became an extremely informative document for the topography of France and Italy in the 17th Century. Israël Silvestre artistically recorded almost every place, monument, and castle of importance in these two countries. In addition, his works also include views of Rome and Paris, scenes from the Plaisirs de l’Isle enchantée, and festivals or amusements for the King of Versailles. Many of his drawings are now seen at the Louvre and the British Museum in London.
Starting on January 1, 1667, Israël Silvestre was the drawing-master for the pages of the Great Royal Stables and lived in the Louvre with his family beginning on April 10, 1668. He was accepted into the Académie Royale on December 6, 1667 and appointed as the drawing-master for the Dauphin on April 21, 1673. He held this office for twelve years.
Israël Silvestre died on October 11, 1691 in Paris.

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