Jacques Callot

Le Combat a la Barriere (Combat at the Barrier)

Le Combat a la Barriere (Combat at the Barrier) by Jacques Callot

Artwork Detail

Jacques Callot, Le Combat à la Barrière (The Combat at the Barrier), 1627 bound with three other series by the artist.

Purchased by Auckland collector Dr Walter Auburn in 1978 from London dealers Colnaghi & Co, this book is a tour-de-force by French etcher Jacques Callot. It records a festival held in the court of Lorraine on 14 February 1627 in honour of the Duchesse de Chevreuse. As Auburn noted, this book is a rare and valuable treasure.

Callot had extensive knowledge of festival publications from his time spent in the service of the Medici in Florence (c.1612-c.1620). Several years after his return to his home of Nancy c.1621, he was engaged by the court of Lorraine. Le Combat à la Barrière was by far the most spectacular festival staged at the ducal palace. Callot, not only recorded the event, but was also involved in its staging, as designer for the extravaganza.

The various participants entered on elaborate floats, and a staged battle ensued with victory going to the Duke of Lorraine, Charles IV and his cousin the Marquis de Moy. The symbolic properties of light were exploited throughout the production with the Duke playing the role of the sun.

Henry Humbert’s verse accompanies these festival prints. Adrian Eeles of Colnaghi & Co. noted at the time of the sale that ‘it is rare to find the theatre illustrations still together with the printed text.’ The book has a French 18th-century green calf binding, and includes three other series by Callot: Varie Figure, La Noblesse (The Nobility of Lorraine) and Les Gueux (The Beggars), which are all remarkable early strong impressions.

For further reading see H. Diane Russell, Jacques Callot: Prints and Related Drawings, (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1975).

Le Combat a la Barriere (Combat at the Barrier)
Jacques Callot
Production date
205 x 152 x 25 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, bequest of Dr Walter Auburn
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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