Artist: Antoine Watteau (French, Valenciennes 1684–1721 Nogent-sur-Marne)
Date: ca. 1718–20
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 21 3/4 x 17 in. (55.2 x 43.2 cm)
Credit Line: Munsey Fund, 1934
Accession Number: 34.138
Mezzetin, a stock comic character of the Italian commedia dell'arte, became an established performer on the Paris stage. Various players were engraved in his costume, which by about 1680 comprised a jacket and knee-britches, a floppy hat, a ruff, and a short cape. Mezzetin was by turns interfering, devious, and lovelorn, but not languorous. His head and his large, angular hands are extraordinarily expressive.