Les Martyrs du Japon (Martyrs of Japan), from the series Le Combat à la Barrière (Combat at the Barrier)

Jacques Callot, French, 1592 - 1635

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about 1627; published after 1661

Etching on paper

Plate: 6 5/8 × 4 1/2 in. (16.8 × 11.5 cm)

Sheet: 6 13/16 × 4 3/4 in. (17.3 × 12 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Julia L. Whittier Fund

PR.955.15

Publisher

Israel Silvestre, Paris

Geography

Place Made: France, Europe

Period

1600-1800

Object Name

Print

Research Area

Print

On view

Inscriptions

Inscribed, in plate, within image, lower left: I. Silvestre ex. / Callot fec. cum priuil. Regis.; inscribed, in plate, lower center margin: Le Pourtraict des premier 23 Martire mis en Croix par la predicaon. de la S. foy au Giappon / soubs l'Empe. Taicosam en la Cité de Mongasachi, de lordre des freres mineurs Obseruantin de S. François.

Label

To drive out Western influence and deter others from converting to Christianity, Emperor Taikosama executed several European missionaries and Japanese converts by crucifixion. In recognition of their holy sacrifice, Pope Urban VIII beatified these individuals as saints in 1627. This etching, by French artist Jacques Callot, illustrates their martyrdom. Each of the martyrs is shown with a halo. Their crucified bodies serve as a border between the brutality of the soldiers who pierce them with lances. Above them, the divine angels throw laurels down from heaven. The etching was printed on paper and circulated around Christian Europe, memorializing the missionaries’ and converts’ sacrifice and illustrating the power of Catholic conversion around the world.

Written by Joshua Po, ’23

From the 2023 exhibition Faith and Empire: The Legacy of Conversion and Commerce in the Early Modern World, curated by students of ARTH 20.04, "Faith and Empire: Art in the Early Modern World" taught by Elizabeth Rice Mattison, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Curator of Academic Programming

Course History

Art History 20.04, Faith and Empire, Beth Mattison, Spring 2023

Art History 20.04, Faith and Empire, Beth Mattison, Spring 2023

Exhibition History

Death and Dying: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Harrington Gallery Teaching Exhibition, Anthropology 55, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, February 11-March 26, 1995.

Faith and Empire: The Legacy of Conversion and Commerce in the Early Modern World, Class of 1967 Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 12-December 23, 2023.

Provenance

The Book & Print Shop, Cora McDevitt Wilson (1880-1975), Hanover, New Hampshire; sold to present collection, 1955.

Catalogue Raisonne

Lieure 594; Meaume 155

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