The Fair at Impruneta (first plate)
The Fair at Impruneta (first plate), 1620
plate: 17 1/8 × 26 5/8 in. (43.5 × 67.63 cm) sheet: 17 3/4 × 27 1/8 in. (45.09 × 68.9 cm)
Purchase, with funds from Ethel K. Hockerman, from the collection of Philip and Dorothy Pearlstein M2000.124
Photo credit: Larry Sanders
Jacques Callot executed The Fair at imprunta, one of his most virtuoso works in etching, during his tenure as a court artist in Florence for Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Depicting an autumn market in a small Tuscan village during the Feast Day of Saint Luke, the print is a virtual lexicon of society. Elegant and effete aristocrats mingle with ruffians, cripples, and animals. Merchants hawk their wares while a snake charmer mesmerizes onlookers and guards hoist a criminal on the strappado. Such traditional religious festivities, as well as the outdoor spectacles organized by the Medici court, were immensely popular events attended by every manner of individual. Recording them in full detail, Callot appealed to a ready market.
Callot was an exceedingly methodical artist. He made over 200 preparatory sketches, some of them from life, for figures in The Fair at Imprunta, and a number of large compositional drawings in ink wash to develop the effects of light and dark. To achieve the dramatic chiaroscuro that makes this work one of the artist's most extraordinary prints, Callot etched some lines briefly and lightly, while deepening and widening others by a longer immersion in the acid. Callot also used to full aesthetic advantage in this print a special stylus that he invented, which allowed him to draw with sweeping and swelling strokes.
Excerpt from Building A Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2001, p. 180. Entry by Terry Marvel.
Milwaukee Art Museum News, January 2004, no page number, color illus.
Kirk, Sarah B. and Britt Salvesen. The Incisive Imagination: Jacques Callot and His Contemporaries. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, p. 11-12, b/w illus. front & back cover (detail) & 11.
Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 180, color illus.
The Incisive Imagination: Jacques Callot and His Contemporaries, Milwaukee Art Museum, February 6 – May 2, 2004
This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.