Work Portrait of Claude Deruet
Department of Prints and Drawings: 17th century
Portrait de Claude Deruet
Musée du Louvre, dist. RMN-Grand Palais - Photo S. Nagy
Prints and Drawings
A rare example of a pen drawing by Callot, this is a full-length portrait of the painter Claude Deruet accompanied by his son Henri-Nicolas. A curtain frames the double portrait, together with a coat of arms. The effect is somewhat theatrical: in the background are the ramparts of Nancy and La Romaine, Deruet's luxurious residence, where Louis XIII and his Queen stayed in 1633.
An accurate topographical view
Part of a sketchbook comprising 168 drawings covering a variety of periods and subjects, this is a preparatory study for a much re-worked etching of which five states are known. The dedication "To Claude Deruet, Equerry, Knight of the Order of Portugal, His loyal friend. Jacques Callot" appears for the first time in the third state, together with a poem sometimes attributed to Callot. The sketchily-indicated background scene, in Nancy, can be identified with some precision: to the left is the Rue des Moulins, where it meets the Rue de l'Eglise; to the right are two symmetrical towers marking the bastions of Haussonville and Vaudémont, and the belltower of the church of Saint- Epvre. The Carmelite church, the setting for Deruet's masterly decorations (now lost) under the patronage of the Prince of Phalsbourg, is half-hidden behind the figure of the painter. The background features a number of new landmarks in Nancy's rapidly-evolving townscape; similarly, the figures' costumes reflect the latest trends in contemporary fashion.
A re-worked portrait
Deruet received letters patent of nobility in 1621, and by 1645 had been made a Knight of the Order of St Michel, by Louis XIII. In his native Nancy, he was apprenticed to Bellange (the official court painter and master of the revels at the court of Charles V, Duke of Lorraine) before studying for a time in Rome. Upon his return, he succeeded Bellange as the region's leading painter. Charles V accorded Deruet the title of 'gentleman' on 5 March 1632, and this double portrait was probably made to mark the occasion. Standing almost full face, Deruet extends his left arm above the head of his son, who wears a plumed hat inspired by one of his father's paintings and carries a musket over his shoulder. In the etching's second state the plumes have disappeared from the child's hat and a vertical line separates the verses of poetry at the bottom. In the third and fourth states the contours of the faces are re-worked, Deruet's right thumb is outlined up to the lace at his wrist, the muzzle of the child's musket is shaded, and his curls and the plumes of his hat are thicker. A chimney has been added to the roof of La Romaine (evidence, perhaps, of Deruet's increasing prosperity) and the floor to the left has been completely re-worked.
A quintessential example of Callot's work
The meticulous alterations made by Callot to the different states of the etching testify to the importance of this commission for the artist. The confidence and brio of the pen strokes and washes provide a fine contrast to the lightly-sketched panorama in the background. Callot's sweeping, vigorous drawing gives his figures a monumental grandeur which the finished etching fails to convey: Deruet's face shows greater concentration in the drawing, his gaze is more direct and the pronounced features have about them a frankness that is lost in the much re-worked print. In this stiff, carefully-composed portrait, the theatrical presentation of the child and the treatment of the floor remind us of Callot's principal interests, in the aristocratic life of his time and the Italian Commedia dell'Arte.
BibliographyD. Ternois, L'Art de Jacques Callot, Paris, F. de Nobele, 1962.
D. Ternois, Jacques Callot (1592-1635) : actes du colloque organisé par le Service culturel du musée du Louvre et la ville de Nancy à Paris et à Nancy les 25, 26 et 27 juin 1992, 1992.
Jacques Callot : 1592-1635, exhibition catalogue, Nancy, Musée historique lorrain, 13 June-14 September 1992, pp 332-333, no. 458-459 bis.
A. Brothers, Worlds in miniature: the etchings of Jacques Callot and Wenceslaus Hollar, exhibition catalogue, Melbourne, National gallery of Victoria, Robert Raynor gallery, 20 March-15 June 1998, pp. 38-39.
D. Ternois, Jacques Callot : catalogue de son oeuvre dessiné, supplément (1962-1998), Paris, F. de Nobele, 1999.
Jacques Callot (Nancy 1592-1635)
Portrait of Claude Deruet
Pen, sepia ink, brown wash over black chalk
H. 26.6 cm; W. 17.7 cm
Pierre-Jean Mariette Collection; sold by the latter in Paris, 15 November 1775, part of lot no.1185; purchased for the King's Chamber
Due to their fragility, works on paper are not on permanent display in the museum.
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