Mezzeten – Antoine Watteau

"Mezzeten – Antoine Watteau

Description of the picture:

Mezzeten – Antoine Watteau. Between one thousand seven hundred eighteen and 1720. Oil on canvas. 55×43
Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), one of those who most ideally expressed the spirit of the 18th century – the century of play, theater, the life of emotions – studied painting with theatrical masters. He himself adored the theater, participated in the “gallant festivities” organized by his friend, banker and collector Pierre Croz, because most of the artist’s works were inspired by this art form.

One of them is painting “mezzetine”, which depicts the character of the Italian comedy del arte, once popular in Paris, a cunning man and a buffoon. He is dressed in his own usual outfit – a beret, a striped jacket with a snow-white corrugated collar and breeches. The hero sings, accompanying himself on a guitar, a serenade. But his feeling is unrequited, this is hinted at by a sculpture in the form of a female figure, with its back turned to the ill-fated lover. The joking scene is full, but of the subtle emotions that the gallant age so valued, and in combination with the wonderful colors of colors and the finest glaze, the canvas gives rise to that feeling from the Watteau painting, about which the French writers the Goncourt brothers said: “This is something a little perceptible that seems like a grin the devil, the soul of forms, the spiritual face of matter. “

The painter shone a picture glowing with happiness and unhealthy consumption shortly before his own early death. Like many of his educated contemporaries, he sought to share the philosophy of the Epicureans, who taught not to think about suffering. But the beautiful tune of Mezzeten, which is heard in this work by Watteau, is nevertheless sad."

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