Jacques Callot often featured complex and highly expressive rock formations in his prints and drawings. Only through sensitive observation of natural phenomena was he able to capture a wide range of effects of light and shade with an economical, rhythmic use of wash. Remarkably, despite his freedom and fluidity in applying wash, there is no evidence that he was ever a painter.
The forthrightness and simplicity with which Callot described forms on the page and his masterly use of light reveal experiments in landscape parallel to those of his two great French contemporaries, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain. Both Poussin and Claude lived in Italy, where Callot worked from 1612 to 1621.
While this drawing's purpose is not known, both it and Callot's An Army Leaving a Castle may have been studies for engravings that were never made.