Jacques Callot

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Callot, Jacques


Born in 1592 or 1593, in Nancy; died there Mar. 24, 1635. French engraver and graphic artist.

Beginning in 1608, Callot studied in Rome. In 1611 he began working in Florence, where he became a masterful etcher. In 1622 he returned to France. Callot’s etchings include large panoramic compositions (The Siege of Breda, 1627) and groups of small engravings (Capricci, 1617, 1623). In his work Callot reproduced reality with multiple images. He portrayed various, often bizarre, human types (the series The Beggars, 1622) and dramatically depicted contemporary events (the two series The Disasters of War, 1632-33). Callot also treated religious subjects (The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, 1632-33), mythological subjects (primarily in his early work), and theatrical themes (the series Balli, 1622). He also is well known for his landscapes. Each of his plates (with sharp spatial jumps from the foreground to the background) depicts several episodes and crowds of active figures.

In Callot’s work the realism of keenly observed and sharply delineated details combines with grotesque expressiveness, which includes fantastic elements, to form a whole. Callot used the technique of graduated biting, which gave him particular precision of drawing, flexibility and clearness of line, richness of shadows in the foreground, and subtlety and softness of tonal transitions.


Glikman, A. S. Zhak Kallo. Leningrad-Moscow, 1959.
Lieure, J. Jacques Callot, 5 vols. Paris, 1924-29.
Bechtel, E. de T. Jacques Callot. New York, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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