Baroque printmaker Jacques Callot is most famous for two series of etchings on the subject of the miseries of war (Les Petites Misères de la Guerre [1632–33] and Les Grandes Misères de la Guerre ). Known also as 'The Life of a Soldier', the earlier (incomplete) series is thought to be a first draft for the second, comprising 18 titled etchings. In a sequence of harrowing images, Callot overturns traditional notions of military glory by showing soldiers burning and pillaging their way through towns and cities before being arrested, executed or lynched. Though no supporting documentation has survived, the prints, first published during the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War, are thought to reflect contemporary debates about the discipline and conduct of soldiers.
Wellcome Images, courtesy The Richard Harris Collection