Crispijn de Passe the Elder
ca. 1565 Arnemuiden/Zeeland – Utrecht 1637

Dutch draughtsman, engraver, printmaker and publisher

Crispijn de Passe probably was a pupil of Dirck Volkertsz. Coornhert (1522-1599). His own career as an artist he started in Antwerp, where he became a member of the Guild of Saint Luke in 1585.

From about 1594/95 until about 1612 he lived and worked in Cologne, where his children were born. There he was teacher of the copper engraver Peter Isselburg (about 1580-1630), who became very famous in Germany.

From 1612 he lived in Utrecht, where he mainly worked as a copper engraver and publisher. His engravings, very often portraits, he made after his own, but also after priliminary drawings made by other artist (eg. Maerten de Vos).

From about 1614 his children Simon, Crispijn the Younger, Willem and Magdalena de Passe worked with him as engravers. So Crispijn de Passe is regarded as the progenitor of a family of copper engravers and publishers.

The family's production of copper engravings was enormous and included single prints, series as well as book illustrations.