Jacques Callot (1592-1635)
1592 - 1635
BiographyJacques Callot was a French artist celebrated for his influence on etching and engraving. Although he was born in 1592 in Nancy, he learned to engrave in Rome in Philippe Thomassin's atelier. Though he began his artistic career in Italy in the Baroque period, his oeuvre is considered to be representative of the school of Lorraine. During his lifetime, Callot worked under the auspices of Duke Cosimo II of Medici, Duke Charles IV, Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu and Infanta Isabella. Thus, it is clear that his provincial upbringing did not impede his art from receiving great fame and recognition throughout Europe. Likewise, the breadth of his artistic influence is seen through the works of Hogarth and Rembrandt.
Many early historians of Callot, such as Mariette, propagated the myth that as an adolescent, Callot experienced several failed attempts to run away to Rome. His parents finally allowed him to study in Rome in 1608. From 1608 to 1611, Callot worked in Thomassin's studio and there, he was in contact with Antonio Tempesta. By 1611, Callot relocated to Florence and was commissioned to work for the Medici family. While in Florence, Callot engraved several series including The Life of Ferdinand I and he also etched The Massacre of the Innocents, The Fair of the Impruneta and Landscapes for Jean de'Medici. Because Callot enjoyed living in both Italy and France, contemporary scholars often collate his body of work thematically by location, namely by his Italian and French periods.
In 1621, Callot returned to Nancy. Although he received prestigious patronages in Florence, he did not receive any regal commissions in Nancy until 1623. In the meantime, Callot re-etched series including the Capricci. In Lorraine, he also etched many famous series including the Gobbi, the Beggars and the Nobility of Lorraine. After being commissioned by Charles IV, Callot received attention from Charles' political ally, Infanta Isabella for whom he etched The Siege of Breda in 1625. By 1629, Callot travelled to Paris and received commissions from Louis XIII and Richelieu. As tensions rose between the king of France and Duke Charles IV of Lorraine, Callot returned home to Nancy. Shortly after Callot's return in 1631, Richelieu waged war on, and defeated Lorraine. The violence of this capitulation was captured in Callot's The Miseries and Misfortunes of War in 1633, a series that seems to have later inspired Goya. Soon after the siege of Lorraine in 1635, Callot succumbed to an illness, dying on March 24.