Ploos Van Amstel, Cornelius

Ploos van Amstel, Cornelius a celebrated Dutch amateur engraver and designer, was born at Amsterdam in 1726. He is chiefly distinguished for his imitations of the drawings of old masters, of which he possessed one of the best collections known, amounting to five thousand drawings by celebrated Italian, German, French, Flemish, and Dutch masters, from Giotto to his own time. Born of a good and wealthy family, he had every opportunity for improving his taste and advancing his pursuits. Being acquainted with all the principal collectors of Amsterdam, he commenced making his own valuable collection at a very early age. He had likewise a very valuable collection of prints and etchings, especially of the works of Lucas van Leyden, Albert Durer, Golzius, Cornelius and Jan Visser, N. Berchem, and especially Rembrandt. Ploos van Amstel's own works consist chiefly of imitations of drawings of old masters, in chalk, washed and colored; the colored imitations were accomplished by printing with several plates. In 1765 he published a collection of forty-six such imitations in various styles, after drawings by A. Vandevelde, Rembrandt, Ostade, Gerard Dow, Backhuysen, Metzu, Berchem, A. Bloemaert, Wouvermann, Mieris, Terburg, and others. There are altogether upwards of one hundred imitations of drawings by Ploos van Amstel, and many of these are published in various stages of progress, but very few impressions were taken of any. They are enumerated and described by Weigel in the Kunst- Katalog, and in Nagler's Künsler- Lexikon. A collection of one hundred of Van Amstel's and some additional similar imitations, with a portrait of Van Amstel, was published by C. Josi (London, 1821, royal folio); but only one hundred copies were printed, and at the enormous price of forty guineas per copy. Ploos van Amstel died at Amsterdam Dec. 20, 1798, and on March 3, 1800, his valuable collection, with the exception of the etchings of Rembrandt, was sold at auction, and realized the large sum of 109,406 florins. See Van Eynden en Vander Willigen, Geschiedenis der Vaterlandsche Schildekunst sedert de Helft der XVIII Eeuw. 1816-1842.

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