Antoine Watteau French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 629

Mezzetin, a stock comic character of the Italian commedia dell’arte, became an established archetype 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 typically included a striped jacket and knee breeches, 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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