Jacques Callot, a printmaker from the Duchy of Lorraine, is regarded as a leading etcher, also known and very famous in Europe at that time as the inventor of a hard ground that allowed the development of etching. Revolutionises etching, using a harder varnish enabling him to etch lines with extreme accuracy and a multiple stopping-out, and a sort of burin (échoppe): thus he achieves some tones and a 3D representation of the scene. Exclusively sketcher and printmaker, he created some 1500 works on various subjects: religious, historical, portraits, fairs, picturesque figures, landscapes etc. His work, inspired from his stay in Italy, his services at the Medici courts of France, as well as from his imagination and experiences – religion, wars and poverty that ravage his country – consists exclusively of prints and is characterised by the great variety of the subjects, of the dimensions of his etchings (from a few square centimetres to 123 cm x 140 cm) and by the artist’s trend for scenes with numerous figures and fine lines.
A sensitive witness of his time and the miseries of common people, he often creates series that reflect his personal approach to the subject he etches.