La Petite Passion – Complete Set of 12, before numbers

Jacques Callot (1592-1635), La Petite Passion (The Small Passion), etchings, 1694, the complete set of 12.  References: Lieure 537-548, Meaume 19-33. First states (of two and three), L. 542 second state (of 3). In generally good condition, on old laid paper, with narrow margins or trimmed on the platemark, slight thin spots, occasional soiling, prior hinging verso, L. 547 tiny loss lower right edge.  3 1/4 x 2 3/8 inches.

A very fine crisp early set, all before numbers, all first states except L542 (the first state of which is exceedingly rare).

Provenance: Sotheby’s New York, Sale of Old Master Prints, 11/14/81

Lieure quotes Mariette saying that “these twelve small prints are among the most beautiful things that Callot drew after returning from Italy.” Bouchot, who referred to this series as remarkable, wrote that “one could hardly believe that in the space of seven centimeters high and five wide the artist had been able to develop his conception so completely, while missing nothing.”

These compositions are unframed by borders; Callot frames the action by architectural or natural devices, giving the central figures strength through a heightened line, and giving the composition depth by depicting figures and buildings in a lighter context behind the action.  Astonishingly, each of these compositions would “work” superbly in a much larger format.

The Flagellation

The Presentation to the People

The Crown of Thorns