Gilles in costume Piero by Jean Antoine Watteau

Gilles in costume Piero by Jean Antoine Watteau

Painting of the French painter Antoine Watteau “Gilles in the costume of Pierrot”. The size of the picture is 185 x 150 cm, canvas, oil. The subtle nuances of human experience – irony, sadness, anxiety, melancholy – are revealed in his small pictures depicting one or more figures in the landscape.

The heroes of these scenes are offended and shy, awkward, mocking, sly and coquettish, often sad. The ironic estrangement that always shines in Watteau’s paintings gives them a shade of a surreal, fantastic and elusive mirage. Grace and masterly lightness of writing, an iridescent gamma of carmine, green, lilac colors, a variety of tonal shades echo the poetic game in the feelings that these character images embody.

Watteau characters are far from reality, as if playing pantomime, they depict a serene life in a completely special world on the verge of theater and reality, a world created by the artist’s imagination. Full of high poetry is a sad and kind image of a naive simpleton, the hero of the Gilles fair theater in the painting “Gilles in Pierrot’s costume.”

Piero is a permanent type of Italian comedy del arte, one of the jester servants. It’s a scuffling fellow, wrinkling a clumsy simpleton, a cunning, a glutton and a thief. Masks are not on him, but his face is covered with a thick layer of powder. In pantomime, he often plays the role of Arlequin’s rival; is also under the names of Bertholdo, Bertolino and Piazzo.

Appearing in France in the plays of the Italian comedy dell’arte, Pierrot became so popular that he acted as an actor in Don Juan, Moliere, and later as an independent hero of parody plays, for example, Piero-Romulus Lesage.

The image of Pierrot was completely forgotten, when in the era of restoration he was resurrected in the theater by Gaspar Deburo. The type of Pierrot, created by Deburo in different plays, was so interesting that he devoted articles to Charles Nodier, Jules Jeanin, Theophile Gauthier. Thus, of all the characters in the Italian comedy del arte and pantomime, Piero stayed on stage longer than anyone else.

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