Copy of Les Danseurs a la Flute et au Tambourin (Dancers with the Flute and the Tambourine), from Les Caprices
Jacques Callot was born in Nancy, Lorraine, now France. He came from an aristocratic family and he writes about his noble status in his print inscriptions. He learned engraving in Rome from an expatriate Frenchman, Philippe Thomassin, and probably, from Antonio Tempesta in Florence where he started to work for the Medici. In 1621, he returned to Nancy where he lived for the rest of his life. Although he remained in Nancy, his prints were distributed through Europe. He developed several technical innovations that enabled etching lines to be etched more smoothly and deeply. Now etchers could do the very detailed work that was previously the monopoly of engravers, and Callot made good use of the new techniques. His multiple innovations also achieved unprecedented subtlety in the effects of distance and light even his prints were relatively small – as much as about six inches or 15 cm on their longest dimension. His most famous prints are his two series of prints each on "the Miseries and Misfortunes of War". These images show soldiers pillaging and burning their way through towns before being arrested and executed by their superiors, lynched by peasants, or surviving to live as crippled beggars.