“No other master can compare with Callot in the ability to squeeze into the narrowest limits such an innumerable abundance of phenomena, which appear to our eyes with amazing clarity, juxtaposed with each other and inseparable from each other, so that each unit, satisfying itself, at the same time is integrated into the totality.
Hoffman. “Jacques Callot” (1814)
The next exhibition at In artibus Foundation is based on engravings Jacques Callot (1592/93–1635). Seventy etchings, which until recently belonged to the Vienna “Albertina”, and one drawing by the famous French master were provided to the fund by Moscow collectors.
The exceptional accuracy of Callot’s graphic talent, extreme artistic honesty and, as a consequence, the persuasiveness of visual images allowed his work to become not only a mirror of the time through which we perceive his modern era in many ways – a turning point in the history of Europe, but also a source, a breeding ground for many generations of artists, writers, musicians. Despite the fact that the core of the exhibition consists of the works of the famous master, who occupies one of the most honorable niches in the history of art, the nature of the exhibition is not academic. Its subtitle – “capriccio”, refers to the most free genre of Modern art, which has the same interpretation, both in music, painting and graphics.
Jacques Callot is the title, but not the only hero of the exhibition. In addition to the engravings from the famous Balli di Sfessania series (1621), “Great Disasters of War” (1633), “Great Passions” (1618) and “Small Passions” (1624), the visual range will be complemented by the works of other artists – both those whose plastic finds could be inspired by the French graphic artist, and those on whose vision of art was influenced by the “manner of Callot”. Graphic works will be presented at the exhibition Joos de Momper, Rembrandt, J.-B. Piranesi, J.-L. David, Theodore Gericault, Honore Daumier.
The second equal participant of the exposition is the writer and composer E.T.A. Hoffman, whose words from the essay “Jacques Callot” (1814) are included in the title of the exhibition. Hoffmann’s texts and music here are intended to serve not as a reverse “illustration” of Callot’s graphics, explaining art understandable without words, but as its peculiar sound and literary equivalents. Hoffman will also appear surrounded by literary brethren – from his contemporaries to writers of the twentieth century.
The choice of the cultural cross-section presented at the exhibition is quite arbitrary. An unexpected juxtaposition of different authors, eras and types of art can cause both a fruitful turn of the viewer’s mind and his irritation. The organizers do not seek to teach and edify, they make an attempt to materialize in a playful way the inner leitmotif of the French master’s art – to bring heterogeneous principles to harmonious coexistence. Anticipating reproaches for the controversial nature of some interpretations, they can only repeat after Hoffmann: “I wanted to work in the manner of Callot.”