Jacques Callot (1592-1635) was one of the most important European graphic artists of his time, and his neat, precise etching style influenced printmakers for nearly three hundred years. Born in Lorraine, Callot learned printmaking in Italy, where he created a multitude of sprightly prints for the Medici dukes of Florence and, after his return to Lorraine in 1621, for patrons there and in France. He depicted religious and theatrical subjects, courtly amusements and current events, soldiers at war, and ragged mendicants.
Rembrandt’s images of beggars, though his style differed greatly, demonstrated that he knew Callot’s work. Another artist who followed in Callot’s footsteps was Stefano della Bella, who etched an abundance of charming narrative, decorative, and exotic subjects in a distinctive style that has been characterized as”fur and feathers.” Abraham Bosse created many print series that revealed the fashions, food, and decoration of contemporary Paris. Sebastien LeClerc worked for Louis XIV as an etcher and documented many aspects of the Sun King’s reign, including the building programs of the palaces of the Louvre and the gardens of Versailles. The work of all of these artists is featured along with Callot’s in this exhibition.
“Callot and His World: Princes, Paupers, and Pageants” comprised approximately 150 prints, drawings, and illustrated books from the Museum’s collection, including a number of recent acquisitions, and loans from private and public collections.