2 sheets, float mounted and framed together, (sheet size: 1 ¾ x 3 5/8 inches each; framed size: 6 ¾ x 13 ¾ inches). A pair of very fine etchings showing two types of cavalry combat, signed within the plate, a nice dark impression showing faint threadlines (some pale staining).
Provenance: With the collector's mark of Robert Hartshorne (d. 1945) on the verso (Lugt 2215b), his sale, October 1945, Parke-Bernet.
First edition, first state. L. 1313-1314. "Les Combats de Cavalerie" is a complete set of two etchings: "Le Combat au pistolet" (combat with pistols) and "Le Combat à l'épée" (combat with swords). Usually added to the series "Exercices militaires" (L. 1320-1332). Meaume writes, "C'est dans cette pensée que Fagnani, après avoir acquis ces planches, y fit ajouter les nos. 13 et 14" (It is thought that Fagnani, after having acquired these plates, numbered them 13 and 14 [after the 12 prints in the "Exercices militaires" series]). However, there is no direct relationship between that series and these two prints, which are perhaps more closely related to the third print in the series "Grandes Misères de la Guerre," entitled "la Bataille" (the Battle, L. 1341).
Callot "was one of the first great artists to practice the graphic arts exclusively. His innovative series of prints documenting the horrors of war greatly influenced the socially conscious artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.
"Callot's career was divided into an Italian period (c. 1609-21) and a Lorraine (France) period (from 1621 until his death). He learned the technique of engraving under Philippe Thomassin in Rome. About 1612 he went to Florence. At that time Medici patronage expended itself almost exclusively in feste, quasi-dramatic pageants, sometimes dealing in allegorical subjects, and Callot was employed to make pictorial records of these mannered, sophisticated entertainments. He succeeded in evolving a naturalistic style while preserving the artificiality of the occasion, organizing a composition as if it were a stage setting and reducing the figures to a tiny scale, each one indicated by the fewest possible strokes. This required a very fine etching technique. His breadth of observation, his lively figure style, and his skill in assembling a large, jostling crowd secured for his etchings a lasting popular influence all over Europe.
"Callot also had a genius for caricature and the grotesque. His series of plates of single or dual figures-for example, the Balli di Sfessania ("Dance of Sfessania"), the Caprices of Various Figures, and the Hunchbacks-are witty and picturesque and show a rare eye for factual detail.
"With a few exceptions, the subject matter of the etchings of the Lorraine period is less frivolous, and Callot was hardly employed at all by the court at Nancy. He illustrated sacred books, made a series of plates of the Apostles, and visited Paris to etch animated maps of the sieges of La Rochelle and the Île de Ré. In his last great series of etchings, the "small" (1632) and the "large" (1633) The Miseries and Misfortunes of War, he brought his documentary genius to bear on the atrocities of the Thirty Years' War. Callot is also well known for his landscape drawings in line and wash and for his quick figure studies in chalk" (Encyclopedia Brittanica).
These two dynamic pieces show incredible movement and compare favorably to the works of the best 17th-century military painters. Trimmed to the threadlines and signed within the plates. A very fine dark impression. Lieure 1313-1314. Meaume 595-596.