An Army Leaving a Castle
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Jacques Callot
French, about 1632
Brush and brown wash over black chalk
4 x 8 9/16 in.

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Jacques Callot's bravura handling of wash, the expansiveness of the setting, and the large number of participants belie this sheet's tiny size. Callot typically created small prints and drawings whose action and setting may be best appreciated with a magnifying glass.

The location and subject depicted in this drawing are unknown, but the camels indicate an Eastern locale. With rich use of wash and dramatic compositional rhythms, Callot invented a complex scene of an army marching in procession from a castle or walled city with captives and booty. Banners aloft, they regroup to trumpet fanfares in the lower right corner. Huge tongues of flame, seen clearly in the black chalk underdrawing, burst from the battlements.

In style, subject, and horizontal format, this drawing resembles compositions from one of Callot's masterworks, his Miseries of War etchings of 1633. He completed the series soon after Cardinal Richelieu's devastating invasion of the Lorraine region and the capture of Callot's hometown of Nancy.