CALLOT, Jacques
(b. 1592, Nancy, d. 1635, Nancy)


French engraver and draughtsman. He went to Italy when he was in his teens and, working in Rome and then in Florence at the court of the Grand Duke Cosimo II, he learnt to combine the sophisticated techniques and exaggerations of late Mannerism with witty and acute observation into a brilliantly expressive idiom. In 1621 he returned to France, and most of the remainder of his career was spent in his native Nancy, although he worked in Paris and the Low Countries.

He made a speciality of beggars, and deformities, characters from the picaresque novel and the Italian commedia dell' arte. In this respects he comes close to Bellange, also active in Nancy, but Callot's style was more realistic. His last great work, the series of etchings entitled the Grandes Misères de la Guerre, followed the invasion of Lorraine by Cardinal Richelieu on 1633, and is a harrowing depiction of the atrocities of war; its themes and imagery were used as a source by Goya. Callot's output was prodigious; more than a thousand etchings and more than a thousand drawings by him are extant, and some his plates are large, featuring scores of figures. He was one of the first major creative artists to work exclusively in the graphic art.