Jacques Callot, a French painter and engraver, born at Nancy about 1593, died there in March, 1635. His father, Jean Oallot, who was herald at arms of the duchy of Lorraine, opposed the passion for art which he showed, even while learning to write, in designs for the letters of the alphabet, and in crayon drawings of soldiers, street beggars, singers, and mountebanks. In order to become an artist he ran away from home when but 12 years of age, and while journeying to Italy fell in with a band of gypsies at Lucerne, joined them, and improved his time by making sketches representing his companions in camp and on the march. He left them at Florence, where he stayed for a while, and studied under Remigio Cantagallina, becoming familiar with the old masters. He then proceeded toward Rome, but was hardly in sight of the city when he was recognized by some merchants from Nancy, who took him back by force to his home. He again escaped, but was taken and brought back by his older brother, who lay in wait for him at Turin. But his persistence was such that his family finally allowed him to accompany to Rome the ambassador of Lorraine who announced to the pope the accession of Duke Henry II. There he studied drawing under Giulio Parigi, and the use of the graver under Philippe Thomassin; but he soon abandoned the graver for the point.
He went again to Florence, where he gained great popularity and was patronized by Cosmo II. After Cosmo's death he went to Nancy, where he married in 1625, then to Brussels, where he illustrated the siege and capture of Breda, and finally in 1628 to Paris, where he was engaged by Louis XIII. to illustrate the siege of La Ro-chelle and the attack and capture of the isle of Re. He refused to celebrate in the same manner the capture of his native city by that monarch in 1633, and also declined a pension offered him by Louis, who, instead of being displeased at the artist's patriotism, accounted the duke of Lorraine fortunate in having such subjects. Callot worked with wonderful ease and rapidity, showed great fertility of invention, and was peculiarly successful in the presentation of the grotesque and horrible. The number of his plates is over 1,600; among the more celebrated are the sieges above named, the two "Temptations of St. Anthony," the "Murder of the Innocents," "The Punishments," the great "Passion of Jesus Christ," in seven plates, the little " Passion," in twelve plates, martyrdoms, miracles, and fairs.