Jacques Callot

Officer with Large Plume, Front Plume

Officer with Large Plume, Front Plume by Jacques Callot

Artwork Detail

The plates in Varie Figure provide insight into Callot’s working practice, particularly his approach to creating effects of light and shade. The prints demonstrate that Callot built up the impression of shading through systematic parallel lines, the closeness of which determine the darkness of the shade. In addition, the effect of light or reflection is heightened by a contrast of open space next to slight lines. This same interest can be seen in his Caprices (1617). Veronica White (2015) argues that the unique format and sketch-like style of the Capricci di Varie Figure enabled Callot to encourage viewers and artists to experience drawing as part of his inventive process. This seems to have been appreciated by his contemporaries. In 1686 the commentator Filippo Baldinucci noted the utility of the Capricci as a valuable drawing guide. In making this comment, Baldinucci specifically referred to thirteen prints of the series, in which a minimal outline is replicated and enhanced with parallel hatching marks and short strokes to shade the figures and render them three-dimensional. Like Baldinucci, Charles Perrault (1696) noted that the pairs of figures represented in the Capricci were a means of helping students distinguish between the contour and modelling lines used to draw a figure.

Officer with Large Plume, Front Plume
Jacques Callot
Production date
89 x 90 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Estate of Max and Lois Pearl, 2016
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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