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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Jacques Callot’s Great Miseries and Misfortunes of War

After a period apprenticed to an engraver in Rome, French-born Jacques Callot (1592–1635) went to work for the Medici court in Florence in 1612, etching images of festivals and the characters of comedic theater. He returned to France in 1621, where he worked for the court of Lorrain. His expressive images often have a comic, satiric flare.The escalation of the Thirty Years War (1618–48) and the invasion of Lorrain by the forces of Cardinal Richelieu in 1633 inspired Callot to produce a series of prints with a much more serious subject: Les Grandes Misères et Malheurs de la Guerre (The Great Miseries and Misfortunes of War). The images with their harsh criticism of human behavior and exposure of the atrocities of war inspired Franciso Goya (Spanish, 1746–1828) almost two centuries later to create his harrowing series of prints, The Disasters of War.