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La Pendaison [The Hanging]

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (printed and published)

  • Date:

    1633 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Callot, Jacques (artist)
    Israel (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etching on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case CA19

The Miseries of War series (a set of 18 etchings) does not depict particular historic events. Instead the scenes were invented by the artist. Nevetheless they are true-to-life in their depiction of battles and atrocities, and the grim aftermath of war as experienced by soldiers, civilians, and those on the losing side. Callot was familiar with Dutch and Flemish miltary prints by artists such as Esaias and Jan van de Velde (c.1590-1630; c.1593-1642), David Vincnkboons (1578-1629) and Claes Jansz. Visscher (1586-1652), and may have may have been inspired by them.

In the inventory of his possessions following his death, this series is called La vie des soldat [The life of soldiers] and the focus of the series is the lives of soldiers in the 17th century from the time they enlist until they receive rewards meted out by a commander. They are shown in battle, wantonly destroying civilian property, and indulging in murder and rape of the civilian population. In turn they are attacked by civilians and punished as criminals by the military authorities. Survivors of battle, battered and mutilated, lead a pitiful existence, begging, and dying in the streets.

The captions to the prints, in rhyming couplets composed by the Abbé Michel de Marolles, were added in the second states.

Physical description

In the centre a broad tree from which a large number of men hang and groups of soldiers standing around. A company of soldiers with tents, standards and pikes stand in the background. To the right foreground a group of ragged soldiers pray in the company of a priest. A priest half-way up a ladder reads the last rights to the next victim.

Place of Origin

Paris (printed and published)


1633 (printed and published)


Callot, Jacques (artist)
Israel (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Etching on paper

Marks and inscriptions

A la fin ces Voleurs infames et perdus, Commes fruits Malheureux a cet arbre pendus, Monstrent bien que le crime (horrible et noire engeance), Est luy mesine instrument de honte et de vengeance, Et que c'est le Destin des hommes vicieux Desprouer tost au tard la justice des Cieux.
Finally these infamous and abandoned thieves, hanging from this tree like wretched fruit, show that crime (horrible and black species), is itself the instrument of shame and vengeance, and that it is the fate of corrupt men to experience the justice of Heaven sooner or later.

Israel ex. Cum Privil. Reg.
Lower left within image

Numered lower right


Height: 88 mm, Width: 192 mm

Descriptive line

Jacques Callot (1592/3 - 1635; La Pendaison (11th plate of a set of 18 etchings entitled Les Miseres et les Malheurs de la Guerre); 1633; etching.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

H. Diane Russell, et al. Jacques Callot Prints & Related Drawings, Washington, 1975.
Jacques Callot 1592-1635, Musée historique lorrain, Nancy, 1992
Medlam, S. and Ellis Miller, L. (eds.) Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600-1800 from the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Publishing, 2011.

Labels and date

The Hanging

This is one of 18 harrowing scenes in a series of prints called ‘The Miseries and Misfortunes of War’. The hard life of the soldier is depicted as one of long marches, haphazard payment and terrifying violence. Malnourished and threadbare, some resorted to pillaging. In reprisal, communities exacted revenge with lynchings and shootings.

France (Paris)

By Jacques Callot

Etching [09.12.2015]
Callot was a particularly inventive etcher. By working with a needle with an oval point which he turned as he drew, he was able to vary the width of the line made through the ground. He was one of the first etchers to bite the lines of his plates to different depths. By stopping out the background and sky with varnish after the plate had been lightly etched and then biting the foreground deeper, he obtained a convincing effect of distance.

Printmaking Techniques Gallery, Henry Cole Wing [1983]

Subjects depicted

War; Soldiers; Hanged men


Prints; Propaganda; Military


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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