17th Century: Original Jacques Callot engravings

 Jacques Callot              The Gobbi              Les Caprices             Varie Figure              Les Gueux          Israel Silvestre         

Jacques Callot (1592-1632) was one of the earliest great creative artists to practice the graphic arts exclusively. His career can be divided into two periods: an Italian period, c. 1609-1621, and a Lorraine period from 1621 until his death. Callot studied the technique of engraving under Phillipe Thomasin in Rome. About 1612 he joined Guilio Parigi in Florence. At that time Medici patronage expended itself almost exclusively on "feste," and both Parigi and Callot were employed by Cosimo II (de Medici) to create visual records of these entertainments. Callots compositions are organized as if they were a stage setting and reduced the figures to a tiny scale, each one being rendered by the fewest possible strokes. This required an extremely fine etching technique. Callot enjoyed a lasting popularity all over Europe. He returned to Nancy after Cosimo*s death in 1621. During the Lorraine period Callot illustrated sacred books, made a series of plates of the Apostles, and visited Paris to make animated maps of the sieges of La Rochelle and the Ile de RÈ. Callot was one of the first etchers to used the technique of repeated biting, and sometimes combined graver work with etching

Varie Figure

Fifteen from a series of sixteen plates.  The date of the set remains discussed.
Lieure considers the plates were engraved at different dates, but that the majority still belong to the Florentine period (1611-21): he dates thirteen of them (the ones representing the same character twice) from 1617. He also notes that the backgrounds added in the second state of those thirteen plates are technically similar to those executed after Callot's return to Nancy and, despite arguing that Callot is named as 'Iacopo' on the frontispiece (a signature, Lieure says, Callot stopped using from 1618, when he started signing as 'Iacomo'), concludes that the backgrounds as well as two plates (Lieure 404, 405) and the frontispiece were executed after Callot's return in Nancy (1621). In Lieure's argument, the first thirteen plates of 'Varie Figure' appear like a first try announcing the 'Caprices' set (c.1617). Ternois (see catalogue of the exhibition 'Jacques Callot', Nancy, 1992, No. 285-300) disagrees, noting that in no way 'Varie Figure' can be presented as an experiment technically inferior to 'Caprices': the manner is bold, controlled, and the drawings related to the set are more naturalistic than mannerist, thus contrasting with the figures in 'Caprices'. He therefore sets the execution of 'Varie Figure' after Callot's return in Lorraine in 1621. Meaume dates the whole set from 1623.

The etchings below are from various, mostly early states,  but all before the last finished state.
Important valuable work, you will hardly find a selection like this on the market elsewhere.

Varie Figure 15 from the series of 16 in early states Lieure. 201-213, L403-405

L.403 ( II / III )
Title: a print-seller sitting at a table where his prints are shown, with customers gathering
L.201 ( I / IV )
la paysanne vue de dos; tenant in panier
L.202 ( I-II / IV )
La paysane tournée a droite et tenant un panier

L.203 ( I-II / IV )
La paysanne vue de face, tenant in panier sur sa tête
L.204 ( I-II / IV )
La paysanne tournée a gouche, in panier a son bras

L.205 ( I-II / IV )
La Paysanne tournée a droite, la main tendue en avant

L.206 ( I-II / IV )
La paysanne tournée a gauche, les mains appuyées l'une sur l'autre
L.207 ( II / III )
Le turc vu de face, levant le bras droite

L.208 ( II / III )
Le turc vu de face, la maon droite posée sur la hanche

L.209 ( II / III )
L'homme au grand manteau vu de dos
L.210 ( II / III )
L'officier tenant son épée horizontale

L.211 ( II / III )
Le turc vu de dos


L.212 ( II / III )
L'officier a la collerette vu de dos
L.213 ( I-II / III )
Les deux turcs coiffés d'un turban avec une aigrette
Plate in copy
Plate missing




L.405 ( C1 )
Le paysan gardant un boeuf prés de sa femme et de sa fille (this is copy one!)

La halte du paysan
 et de sa femme


click on the thumbnails to see a larger image


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