Claude Mellan began engraving during his early twenties and became one of the leading engravers of his day. As well as a prolific engraver, he was also a painter, a draughtsman and a much sought after portraitist. He developed his own distinctive and technically complex style of engraving which employed parallel lines of varying widths and spacing to create shading, tone and depth. This gives the images an abstract, sometimes geometric effect. He spent most of his career in Rome and in Paris.