Antoine Watteau French

Not on view

Mezzetin, a stock comic character of the Italian commedia dell’arte, became an established performer on the Paris stage, but was an innovative subject for painting in Watteau’s lifetime. Here Mezzetin inhabits the overgrown gardens beloved by Watteau. His costume was typically comprised of a striped jacket and knee-britches, a floppy hat, a ruff, and a short cape; his personality was by turns interfering, devious, and lovelorn, as indicated by the distant female statue who turns her back to him. Watteau’s delicate touch, especially evident in the figure’s hands and clothing, is exceptionally well preserved in this painting.

#5183. Mezzetin

Mezzetin, Antoine Watteau (French, Valenciennes 1684–1721 Nogent-sur-Marne), Oil on canvas

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