Jacques Callot was one of the most accomplished printmakers of the seventeenth century. He was trained in Lorraine and then in Florence, where he stayed until Cosimo de Medici’s death in 1621. He conceived The Beggars after his return to Lorraine. The series is from a line of other Florentine-inspired subjects, such as the Gobbi, depicting dwarf entertainers, and the Balli di Sfessania, images of performers inspired by the Commedia dell’Arte. In The Beggars series he wittily inverts the academic study of noble figures, applying it to the representation of the poor, which reveals his rather cynical view of the human condition. The Beggars, like his entire oeuvre, captures the contradictions of his country with subtle irony. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection includes all twenty-five prints in the series (Eskenazi Museum of Art 64.31.1–.25).
Frontispiece from The Beggars
Etching on paper
Image: 5 5/8 x 3 5/8 in. (14.3 x 9.2 cm); sheet: 5 7/8 x 3 13/16 in. (14.9 x 9.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Kurt Pantzer, 64.31.1