Jacques Callot, one of the most accomplished printmakers of the 17th century, revolutionized the technique of etching. Princes and Paupers focuses on two poles of Callot’s work: his aristocratic commissions, and his images of the marginalized and impoverished.
An international artist active in both France and Italy, Callot (1592–1635) was a consummate draftsman. His careful observations never fail to amaze viewers. Callot created more than 1,400 prints that reveal his fascination with a broad range of subjects, from the miseries of war to aristocratic pageantry; from saints to beggars; from biblical narratives and theatrical comedies to Gypsies and dwarfs. His prints often developed into series that explore a narrative or variations on a theme. Callot’s etchings, which are consistently imaginative, inventive, and witty, open a window through which to better understand 17th-century Europe.