Heroes

Antoine Watteau, The Italian Comedians, 1721

It’s a happy day here at Tigerloaf Mansions as we celebrate the birthdays of two of our greatest heroes. As previously noted, Thelonious Monk was born 98 years ago on this date, a mere 233 years after Jean-Antoine Watteau first saw the light of day in the town of Valenciennes, France. We admire Watteau for the melancholy charm of his Pierrots and minstrels, the bittersweet volupté of his fêtes champêtres and the delicate nostalgia of his landscapes, but above all we cherish the virtuosity aux trois crayons that made him one of the greatest draughtsmen in the European tradition. So brilliant and so devoted to his art was he that In a career lasting little more than a decade he created some two hundred paintings and thousands of drawings, founding a style that still defines the art and the image of his era.  On his deathbed, mute and delirious, he refused to relinquish his brush and painted imaginary pictures in the air. He was 36 years old.

If Suzanne Valadon is worthy of my week-long tribute then Watteau merits a month (or a year!) and I shall endeavour in future to post as many of his delightful works as I can find.

Painting: Les comédiens Italiens, 1721 (click on the image to enlarge; the facial expressions reward close inspection!)
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3 Responses to “Heroes”

  1. Only 36! Yet he left us with so much

  2. Dylan Thomas Hayden Says:

    Yes, to me he’s like the Schubert of painting.

  3. Dylan Thomas Hayden Says:

    And among painters Raphael, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec were similarly short-lived!

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