Rest on the hunt by Jean Antoine Watteau

Rest on the hunt by Jean Antoine Watteau

“Rest on the hunt,” written by the artist a year before his death, demonstrates the changes that occurred in his style. These changes are not very noticeable for us, since in general all the famous paintings of Watteau “fit” in almost one decade. And, nevertheless, even in such a short time the master’s manner has undergone some changes.

Starting with a purely decorative, Watteau gradually comes to “melancholic realism.” Of course, “Hunting on the hunt” is difficult to call a realistic canvas in the full sense. But the features of realism are clearly present here.

Pay attention, for example, to the fact that the entire scene is not located in the environment of the park landscape, but “on the bosom” is quite wild. As in many Watteau works, the characters here are “broken” into pairs. But if in most cases this “splitting” is caught by a certain – both slyly teasing and genuinely alarming – subtext, then in “Rest on the Hunt” there is nothing like this.

Especially noteworthy is the couple in the background – the gentleman helps his lady to rise from the ground, and this gesture is filled with the most friendly and childish playfulness, although two years earlier Wattee would certainly have invested in him a completely different meaning.

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