French draughtsman, printmaker and engineer. He was the son of the engraver Jean Rabel (c. 1545-1603). Around 1612 he became painter to Carlo I Gonzaga, Duc de Nevers (later Duke of Mantua), and drawing-master to his children. In 1618 he was appointed director of the fortifications of Champagne and Brie, becoming Ingnieur du Roi in 1625. He had already been associated with the court, from 1610 onwards designing costumes for the burlesque ballets
performed there (watercolours, Louvre; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris).
He made highly realistic illuminations in gouache for a book of flowers and also some drawn copies of antique objects for Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris). He also designed illustrations for books: 350 plates after his drawings were engraved by Michel Lasne, Claude David and Isaac Briot II. Rabel himself produced over 230 etchings whose finesse and precision recall the style of Antonio Tempesta
and Jacques Callot.
These comprised cartouches, landscapes, flowers (e.g. Theatrum florae and Parterres, 1622 and 1630 respectively); genre scenes, such as Caprices (1629) and Costumes de modes (1623-25); and suites of illustrations, including the Ballet du Roi (1617), Torquato Tasso s Aminta (1631-32) and Honor d Urf s L Astre (1632-33). His influence is apparent in the work of his pupils, notably in the genre scenes of Jean de Saint-Igny
and Sbastien Vouillemont (b. c. 1610) and in the landscapes of Gabriel Prelle.
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