Troops at Rest

Jean-Baptiste Joseph Pater French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 629

Pater painted subjects pioneered by his teacher, Antoine Watteau, including the fête galante and the military troops that both artists favored early in their careers. Pater’s reception piece to the French Royal Academy in 1728 was The Soldiers’ Merrymaking (Museé du Louvre, Paris). Like Watteau, Pater probably knew such subjects firsthand in the wake of Louis XIV’s waning military success, but he also took into account artistic precedents from Northern European artists. Rather than depict triumphant or heroic combat in the manner of battle painters, Pater focused on the improvised camps where soldiers slept, smoked, drank, and ate in the company of women.

Troops at Rest, Jean-Baptiste Joseph Pater (French, Valenciennes 1695–1736 Paris), Oil on canvas

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