Society in the park by Jean Antoine Watteau

Society in the park by Jean Antoine Watteau

The best works of Watteau, no doubt, are two paintings, bearing the same name “Society in the Park.” Written with a difference of about one year of work, they are close in content. On both canvases – smartly dressed ladies and gentlemen, representatives of high society, chatting or just strolling under the arches of the park.

Watteau gave colossal importance to the color gamut, the accuracy of color resolution. He painstakingly worked on every part of the picture, creating a kind of mosaic of strokes. The costumes of his characters never look blatant against the background of the colors of nature, on the contrary, catching the sunlight of the park and bizarrely refracting it, they seem a natural continuation of the landscape component of the paintings. On the canvas dated 1718, the tree crowns have a yellowish-brown hue, depicts early autumn. And as a symbol of this autumn – a beautiful lady in the foreground in a dazzling yellow dress.

In the picture of 1719, summer undoubtedly triumphs. This is confirmed by a lush carpet of grass and forest flowers, and the juicy-green crowns of trees, and transparent sunlight. Come closer, and you will feel an incomparable spicy bouquet of forest smells, hear the singing of birds invisible in the thick of branches. The bronze statue of a naked nymph, which is conveniently arranged on its pedestal near the right canvas of the canvas, gives a special mood. The edges of this pedestal are drowning in the branches, it seems that the branches parted for a moment to show the spectator this bronze dryad left by the resting ladies and gentlemen without due attention.

The park is here as a haven of bliss. Watteau perfectly conveys the glitter of silk, light glare of sunlight on the grass and clothes of the characters, the clarity and freshness of the air. It is necessary to get acquainted with these pictures in the original, as the reproduction is not capable of transferring all the richness of the shades of the artist’s palette.

A special feature of Watteau’s creative manner is the amazing ability to transmit with the help of a brush and paints a light breath of life. On the other hand, the basis of the artist’s style is the longing for the disappearing beauty. Very interesting is the following detail: whatever Antoine Watteau wrote, in all of his works we clearly discern the shade of sad irony. They seem like a dream, a poet’s dream; it seems, open your eyes – and they will disappear… This is the secret of Rococo – art about art, art, replacing life.

Perhaps, it was the disease and the early departure from life that determined the characteristics of the shrill perception of Watteau. His work had a great influence on the painting of the late XVII – early XVIII century. Many of the artist’s paintings are currently kept in the State Hermitage.

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