Devastation of a Monastery (Dévastation d'un monastère)


Jacques Callot ( French, 1592 - 1635 )

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General Description

This etching is part of The Miseries and Misfortunes of War series, a collection of etchings created by Jacques Callot during the Thirty Years War (1618–1648), a religious conflict that involved the major powers in Europe and led to mass carnage and the destruction of several European towns. In Devastation of a Monastery, burning flames rise from the roof of a cathedral as armed soldiers loot its contents and spread the fire to surrounding buildings. This etching is accompanied by a poetic verse that recounts the horrors unfolding in the beautifully rendered image. To achieve such intricate detail, the artist covered the metal printing plate with a hard, stable material and etched out the composition using a special oval-pointed tool. This allowed him to vary the size and character of each line, producing a delicate, elegant style that is at odds with the violent scenes portrayed.

Adapted from

Nicole Myers, DMA label copy, 2018.

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