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

The Two Pantaloons

British Museum, London

Callot achieved his greatest success in engraving those public festivities with which the Grand Dukes sometimes amused the people of Florence; he found the brilliant idiom for rendering the action of those taking part. The idiom can be seen applied to a slightly different subject in the background of the etching of the Two Pantaloons. In this case the people represented are not the members of a pageant, but the ladies and gentlemen of Florence out walking. In the sophisticated Medici Court, however, the borderline between festa and daily life was very vague, and here the courtiers are behaving almost as if they were taking part in a ballet. It is this swaggering, dance-like action that Callot renders with such vividness, adopting for the figures poses which go back to Late Gothic models. But affected though their movements are, Callous figures are based on close and witty observation; they combine artificiality with naturalism in a manner only excelled by Watteau.