Artwork Information

  • Title:

    Recruitment of Troops

  • Artist:

    Callot, Jacques

  • Artist Bio:

    French, 1592–1635

  • Date:


  • Medium:


  • Dimensions:

    3 x 7 3/8 inches

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, L. S. and Ida L. Naftzger Collection of Prints

  • Object Number:


  • Display:

    Not Currently on Display

About the Artwork

Jacques Callot perfected the technique of etching through the invention of a hard varnish, which allowed for more precise drawing upon the plate and for greater protection of the plate during the acid bath. He also developed a more versatile etching needle and demonstrated the great range of value contract, which could be achieved through multiple “bitings” of the acid on the plate.

Callot was a virtuoso draftsman who produced an enormous number of drawings and prints during his career. He characteristically portrayed complex panoramic views on a miniature scale. Callot’s satiric attitude toward contemporary society and his particular range of themes, from the actors of the Commedia dell’arte to the calamities of war, increased the importance of printmaking as a fine arts medium.

The series of prints entitled Miseries of War depict the life of the professional soldier in the 17th century, from the time of his enlistment through battle and pillage to military reward or punishment and the revenge of the peasants. During the 17th century nations established standing armies, which were composed primarily of career mercenaries. These men were often foreigners who were ill paid, billeted on the civilian populace, and who understandable had no special allegiance to their employers. Tales of wanton murder and destruction permeate accounts of the Thirty Years War, and armies carried with them typhus, smallpox, syphilis and plague. Callot describes the barbarous acts of the soldiers but also shows them as victims of their circumstances and of the violence of their time.