New Project: Johanna Sibylla Küsel-Kraus

In the seventeenth century it was common for children to learn their parents' trade and for workshops to continue for generations. The long line of ancestors and the high-ranking artistic environment in which Johanna Sibylla Küsel-Kraus grew up are unusually noteworthy. The Augsburg engraver and publisher Melchior Küsel was her father, the imperial court engraver Matthäus Küsel her uncle. Matthäus Merian the Elder was her grandfather, Johann Theodor de Bry was her great-grandfather, Theodor de Bry, the founder of the de Bry-Merian dynasty of engravers and publishers was her great-great-grandfather. The flower and still life painter Jacob Marell, his stepdaughter Maria Sibylla Merian, her husband Johann Andreas Graff and both, Christoph Le Blon the elder and the younger, as well as the portraitist, engraver and publisher Matthäus Merian the Younger, were among her relatives.

As long and extensive as Johanna Sibylla Küsel-Kraus's line of ancestors was, as diverse were the artistic influences that were received, transformed and passed on over generations. The term "Augsburg - picture factory of Europe", to borrow a phrasing launched by John Roger Paas, has intensified the focus on the Augsburg engravers and publishers, emphasising their outstanding efficiency, but at the same time also helping to recognise Augsburg as a centre where influences from different regions of Europe flowed together, were processed and spread again from there. At the end of the sixteenth and in the first decades of the seventeeth century, Dominicus Custos and his descendants brought in particular Dutch and Italian models into the imperial city's print­making production. After the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648, French models increasingly found their way into Augsburg print­making. As Flora Herbert recently pointed out in her PhD, this cultural transfer between France and Germany, particularly between printmakers in Paris and Augsburg, was largely initiated and supported by Melchior Küsel and the Küsel-Kraus workshop.

Compiler: Jörg Diefenbacher
Editor: Eckhard Leuschner

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