- Museum number
Study for the equestrian portrait of the Prince de Phalsbourg (Louis of Lorraine; Lieure 505); the Prince wearing a ruff and armour, holding a baton out with his left hand, sitting on a horse, battlefield behind him and town in the distance. 1624
Black chalk, brown wash, the outlines indented, the head and ruff of the figure on a inset sheet of paper
- Production date
Height: 245 millimetres
Width: 338 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- An impression of the related etching (Lieure 505) is in the BM: 1861,0713.716.
Lit.: D. Ternois, 'Jacques Callot: catalogue complet de son oeuvre dessiné', Paris, 1962, no. 790, p. 118; P. Choné, in exhib. cat., Nancy, Musée Historique Lorrain, 'Jacques Callot: 1592-1635', 1992, no. 493, p. 391; P. Stein, in exhib. cat., New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art and London, BM, 'French Drawings from Clouet to Seurat', 2005, no. 16 (with previous literature)
While Callot did not invent the formula of portraying a ruler as a military man of action astride a rearing horse,(n.1) it was one for which his repertoire of skills made him especially well suited. Through his numerous copies of Antonio Tempesta's muscular horses in motion (see T.14,38 / Perrin Stein no. 14) he assimilated the principles of equine anatomy; the pose of the rearing horse here is reminiscent of plate 13 of Tempesta's `Cavalli di differenti paesi`, which Callot copied twice.(n.2) The sharp contrast in scale between the equestrian figure and the distant battlefield tableau is characteristic not only of the work of Tempesta and Callot, but of Mannerist compositional principles generally.
Louis de Lorraine-Guise, Baron d'Ancerville (1588?-1631), was a central figure in the Lorraine court when Callot returned from Florence. He was the illegitimate son of Cardinal Louis de Lorraine, who was assassinated shortly after his son's birth. The young Louis de Lorraine was brought to the ducal court where he was raised with the future duke Henri II. The two became close companions and friends, and after Henri II ascended the ducal throne in 1606, Louis was the recipient of many rewards and privileges. He was made Maréchal de Lorraine in 1613 and head of the ducal armies in 1617. In 1621 he married the sister of Charles de Lorraine-Vaudémont, who would become the next duke following Henri Il's death in 1624. The catalyst for Callot's print (fig.1) must have been Emperor Ferdinand Il's elevation of Phalsbourg to a principality, thereby conferring on Louis the title of prince. In fact, the etching can be dated to within a six-month period in early 1624, after the elevation but before Henri Il's death. Since Louis de Lorraine oversaw many of the court's fêtes and masquerades, Callot may have been seeking his favour as a patron.(n.3)
Three compositional drawings are associated with the print.(n.4) The first in the sequence was probably the vibrant and quickly blocked-in study recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (fig.2).(n.5) It is not in reverse to the etching and is partly indented and pricked for transfer around the horse and rider, probably to create a reversed outline for the next stage of preparation. The New York sheet would have been followed by the study in Metz,(n.6) where both horse and rider are reversed, presumably to have the baton in the prince's left hand to anticipate the reversal in the printing process.
The function of the sheet as a working drawing is underlined by the fact that the costume is in chalk alone, with the head and left arm lightly indicated. The British Museum drawing is closest to the print in both the landscape and foreground group; Callot has left the baton in the rider's left hand, but reversed the position of the horse, giving a dynamic angle to its head. In this he was surely following the rearing horse in his own etching, `The Life of Ferdinando de' Medici: The Defeat of the Turkish Cavalry`,(n.7) down to details of its rippling mane and tail. This adjustment in the direction of the horse allowed for the inclusion of the elegant billowing scarf, visually balancing the baton and the momentum of the animal.
At this stage Callot made a careful portrait drawing in black chalk of the prince's head and lace collar, cut it out and set it into the British Museum sheet. Whether this reflects a change or uncertainty in Callot's choice of subject for the portrait, as Paulette Choné has proposed,(n.8) or whether it simply made pragmatic sense for Callot to record a likeness of the prince on a separate sheet, and combine it in the studio, is difficult to say. One must account, however, for the perfect correspondence of scale between the head and the rest of the sheet. The fact that the contours of the present drawing are indented for transfer, but the scale does not match that of the print, suggests a lost intermediary sheet, where Callot may have outlined the horse and body, and then elaborated and cut out the portrait head.
Text by P. Stein, 2005 as cited above.
Fig.1 JACQUES CALLOT, `Le Prince de Phalsbourg`, 1624, etching with engraving, 188 x 246 mm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Ehsha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1959 (59.569.15).
Fig.2 JACQUES CALLOT, `Equestrian Portrait of Louis de Lorraine, Prince de Phalsbourg`, brown ink washes over a black chalk underdrawing, 247 x 333, mm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, promised Gift of Leon D. and Debra R. Black and Purchase, 2003 Benefit Fund, 2004 (2004.235).
1 P. Choné discusses the equestrian portrait in the early seventeenth century in exhib.cat., Musée Historique Lorrain, Nancy, `Jacques Callot, 1392-1633`, 1992, p.389.
2 D. Ternois, `Jacques Callot, Catalogue complet de son oeuvre dessiné`, Paris, 1962, pp.47-8, nos 28 and 32.
3 Nancy, 1992, op.cit., p.389.
4 In addition to the compositional studies, a black chalk study for the armour is in the Hermitage Museum and a chalk and wash study for the battle in the background is in the British Museum; see Ternois, 1962, op.cit., pp.118, 131, nos 791 and 917. A black chalk study in the Paignon-Dijonval collection (no.2525) long considered to be related to the Prince de Phalsbourg composition should be linked instead to Callot's `Portrait de Louis XIII` according to Jean-François Mejanès; see exhib.cat., Musée du Louvre, Paris, `Dessins français du XVIIe dans les collections publiques françaises`, 1993, p.82, under no.28. 5 As fig.2. From the Chatsworth collection the drawing was sold at Christie's, London, 3 July 1984, lot 47; purchased by Mr and Mrs Walter Gernsheim, Geneva.
6 Nancy, 1992, op.cit., p.390, no.492.
7 J. Lieure, `Jacques Callot, catalogue d'oeuvre gravé`, Paris, I, 1924, p.55, no.154.
8 Nancy, 1992, op.cit., p.391, no.493.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1992 June-Sept, Nancy, Musee Historique Lorrain, 'Callot', no. 493
2005/6 Nov-Jan, New York, Met Mus of Art, Clouet to Seurat/BM
2006 June-Oct, BM, Clouet to Seurat/BM
2016-17 Sept-Jan, BM, 'French Portrait Drawings' (no cat)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: FAWK,Add.27