CLERC, SEBASTIEN LE, a celebrated French designer and etcher, was born at Metz in 1637. His father, who was a clever goldsmith, instructed him in the rudiments of drawing and engraving. Sebastieu Le Clere commenced his career as a civil and military engineer; but, having met with some unjust treatment, be resigned a place which he held under the Marshal de Is Ferte, and in 1665 settled in Paris, where, by the advice of Le Brun, he devoted himself exclusively to engraving or etching, an art for which be showed the highest ability. He had also a fertile invention, and great ability as a designer.
In 1668 Le Clerc published a Geometric, Pratique' in eighty plates, which procured him the notice of Colbert, who gave him an appoint ment in the Gobelins tapestry manufactory, with apartments in the factory, and a salary of 3000 francs. Whilst in this situation he married the daughter of Vander Kerkhove, the dyer of the establish ment, by whom he had sixteen children ; and his family increased so rapidly that be was forced to give up his situation, and to try his fortune by working for the public at large. About 1634 he was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Painting, and appointed Professor of Perspective, an office which he held for thirty years. In
1693 he was nominated Engraver in Ordinary to the King (Louis XIV.) ; and he was created about the same time a Knight, by Pope Clement XI. He used to sign himself Chevalier Romain. He died at Paris in 1714.
Le Clerc's etchings and engravings are very numerous. They aro said to exceed 3000; and his are twice as numerous: they include nearly all subjects except shipping. His master-pieces are, the Academy of the Arts and Sciences,' the 'Entrance of Alexander the Great into Babylon,' and the 'Feeding of the Five Thousand.' from his own compositions. A complete list of his works, preceded by a memoir, was published at Paris in 1774, by C. A. de Jornbort, entitled Catalogue Raisoond de ITEuvre de Seb. le Clere.' Heineken also has given a long list of his principal works in his `Dictionnaire des Artistes,' &c. be Clerc was the author of several scientific works. He published a Tmite de Gdomdtrie,' a 'Nouveau Systeme du Monde,' a 'Systeme do la Vision,' and a ' Traite d'Architecture.'