Mezzetin

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)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Munsey Fund, 1934

Accession Number: 34.138

Description

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.

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