|Jacques Callot (1593-1635)|
Middle Eastern Subject, minature pair.
Oil on card
1 3/4 x 3 1/4 & 2 x 3 1/2 inches
French, early 17th century.
Oil on early playing cards, hearts and spades.
Jacques Callot (1593-1635):
French painter and engraver born in Nancy, Jacques Callot was known for religious and historical subjects, portraits, figures, genre scenes, urban landscapes and architectural views. His father was king-at-arms at the court of Lorraine and his mother's family included several painters. As 12 years old he ran away to Italy to become an artist and travelled for two months with a group of wandering beggars and vagrants who became his first models. Throughout his life he returned to painting the subject of poor people but he always portrayed them in a sympathetic light. Callot showed great empathy and understanding of his subjects. His family twice had him brought home and the third time he went back with this family's approval. After spending three years in the studio of Tempesta he went to Florence where he entered the service of Cosimo 11 de' Medici and found considerable fame. After Cosimo's death in 1621, Callot returned to Nancy where he remained until his death in 1635. Two years earlier Lorraine had lost its independence when Louis X111 marched into Nancy. Such was Callot's fame that the French king had sent for Callot who, as a proud Lorrainer begged with the monarch not to insist upon him working for him. Callot had a passion for portraying the life he witnessed around him, whether at court, in the countryside or in the city. His small paintings and engravings are often teeming with figures although he also worked on a grand scale. He instilled great charm into depictions of country folk and is considered to be the first artist who did not glorify war but made clear the full horror of the spectacle. It was not until Goya two centuries later that the theme was repeated. Museums: Musee des Beaux Arts, Nancy.