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Callot

Callot

[ka-loh]
Callot, Jacques, c.1592-1635, French etcher and engraver, b. Nancy. Callot was an influential innovator and a brilliant observer of his time. In 1612 he went to Florence where he learned to etch and where he developed and introduced the use of a hard varnish ground that allowed both greater flexibility and finesse. In the service of Cosimo II de' Medici, he created many works: the Capricci, small, vivacious figure groups; gay scenes of Medici court life; the vast Fair at Impruneta (1620); and sparkling illustrations of the theater, among them his Commedia dell'arte group, which was reproduced in his Balli (1621). On Cosimo's death in 1621, Callot returned to Nancy and, under the patronage of the ducal court, gained a considerable reputation. He became known for his fantasies, grotesques, beggars, and caricatures, then much in vogue. He was commissioned in 1627 by the Infanta Isabella of Brussels to engrave the siege of Breda, and by Louis XIII to etch the sieges of Rochelle and the island of Ré and a series, Views of Paris. Too independent for court favor and deeply affected by the scenes of carnage he had witnessed, he retired to Nancy, where he executed in 1633 his masterwork, the two series entitled Miseries of War. These studies of human brutality and suffering were the first dispassionate, unromanticized treatment of the horror of war. Callot produced nearly 1,500 plates and 2,000 drawings in a wide variety of styles and subjects. The grandeur and brilliance of his work profoundly influenced many major masters, including Rembrandt and Watteau. His technical innovations established important procedures for subsequent etchers.

See the complete illustrated catalog with the definitive study by J. Lieure (5 vol., 1924-29, in French); studies by E. Bechtel (1955) and Brown Univ. Art Dept. (1970).

(born 1592/93, Nancy, Fr.—died March 24, 1635, Nancy) French etcher, engraver, and draftsman. He learned the technique of engraving in Rome. In 1612, at the court of the Medici family in Florence, he was employed to make pictorial records of pageants and feasts. He had a genius for caricature and the grotesque; his series of etchings The Miseries of War (1633), documenting the atrocities of the Thirty Years' War, was used as a source by Francisco de Goya. His output was prodigious; more than 1,400 etchings and 2,000 drawings survive. One of the greatest of all etchers, he was also one of the first major artists to practice the graphic arts exclusively.

Learn more about Callot, Jacques with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born 1592/93, Nancy, Fr.—died March 24, 1635, Nancy) French etcher, engraver, and draftsman. He learned the technique of engraving in Rome. In 1612, at the court of the Medici family in Florence, he was employed to make pictorial records of pageants and feasts. He had a genius for caricature and the grotesque; his series of etchings The Miseries of War (1633), documenting the atrocities of the Thirty Years' War, was used as a source by Francisco de Goya. His output was prodigious; more than 1,400 etchings and 2,000 drawings survive. One of the greatest of all etchers, he was also one of the first major artists to practice the graphic arts exclusively.

Learn more about Callot, Jacques with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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