Talk: Images of War in Early-Modern Europe
Talk by Dr Hugh Dunthorne
Organised by the Historical Association
This talk will consider the work of two early war artists: the Netherlander Jan Vermeyen (c1500-59) and Jacques Callot (1592/93-1635), who came from Lorraine. Both can be regarded as official war artists. Vermeyen was commissioned in 1535 by the Emperor Charles V to accompany his military expedition to Tunis, where he sketched every aspect of the campaign. The resulting ‘cartoons’ (designs for tapestries) provide a vivid record of European and Ottoman styles of fighting. A century later Callot was commissioned by the Spanish and French regimes to produce etchings celebrating the capture of Breda in 1625 and the siege of La Rochelle in 1628. Successfully published a year or two later, these prints might have led to further government commissions. Instead, Callot – apparently on his own initiative – produced in 1633 a series of etchings entitled The Miseries and Misfortunes of War, the first great work by an artist publicly protesting about the barbarity and inhumanity of war.