Antoine Watteau

Actors of the Comedie-Francaise

Actors of the Comedie-Francaise
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Author: Antoine Watteau
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on panel, 20x25 cm
Origin: France, 1711-1712

Watteau was very fond of the play Les trois cousines by Florent Carton, known as Dancourt, and here we see portraits of the actors who played in it at the Comedie-Francaise. Since the 18th century the painting has had eight different titles, among them Actors of the Italian Comedy, since the subjects were identified with the heroes of the famous Commedia dell'Arte. We know the names of all the actors, except for the girl in the striped dress: to the left, the young woman in a high cap is an actress who won the hearts of all with her acting skill and marvellous voice, Christine Antoinette Charlotte Desmars; opposite her is Pierre Le Noir La Thorilliere, who studied under Moliere himself and was famous for his comedy roles; the young man in the beret is the Philippe Poisson, who played opposite Mlle Demares in Les trois cousines. This kind of group portrait is a rare exception in the work of Watteau.

Source of entry: Collection of baron L.A. Crozat de Tierra, Paris, 1772
Theme: Theatre

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