Princes & Paupers: The Art of Jacques Callot

On View
January 31–May 12, 2013

Jacques Callot (1592–1635), one of the most accomplished printmakers in the history of European art, created more than 1,400 prints that provide a glimpse into 17th-century Europe. Callot’s etchings reveal his fascination with a broad range of subjects, from courtly pageants and theatrical comedies to the atrocities of war; from saints and nobles to dwarfs, Gypsies and beggars.

Princes & Paupers: The Art of Jacques Callot reflects the artist’s wit and imagination through more than 150 objects, including prints, books and tools. Callot revolutionized printmaking by developing the process of hard-ground etching and a new type of etching needle, applying his skills to depicting the world around him in prints that display extraordinary detail and are often small in size. The exhibition will have a monitor available to amplify specific passages of the impressive print The Fair at Impruneta, as much of the fine detail is only discernible with the use of a magnifying glass.

As a prolific artist, active in both France and Italy, Callot worked as a court artist for Cosimo II de’ Medici in Florence as well as for the royal courts and nobility of Lorraine, France, and the Netherlands, exclusively making prints. His work was in high demand during his lifetime, and his careful observations and artistic skill continue to amaze viewers up to the present day.

The Art of Jacques Callot symposium at the MFAH will feature seven speakers who will investigate the relationship of Callot’s art to contemporary science, music, religion and literature. The symposium is from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30  p.m. on Saturday, March 16, and is followed by a reception. Admission to the symposium is free and open to the public with general museum admission, but tickets are required. Please contact for more information.

Princes & Paupers: The Art of Jacques Callot is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The exhibition is curated by Dena M. Woodall, MFAH assistant curator of prints and drawings, and Diane Wolfthal, David and Caroline Minter chair in the humanities and professor of art history at Rice University. An exhibition catalogue is available, written by both Woodall and Wolfthal, with contributions by Carolyn Van Wingerden and Julie Knutson, and distributed by Yale University Press.

Generous funding for this exhibition is provided by The Rand Group and the International Fine Print Dealers Association Foundation.

The Art of Jacques Callot symposium is made possible by generous funding from the Faculty Initiatives Fund at the Rice University Humanities Research Center, George L. McLendon, Provost; and by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston / Audrey Jones Beck Building / 5601 Main Street

Media Contacts
Mary Haus, Amy Lowman