The Wallace Collection

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Italian Comedians by a Fountain
  • Nicolas Lancret (1690 - 1743)
  • Italian Comedians by a Fountain
  • France
  • c. 1717-1718
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 91 x 83 cm
  • P465
  • Small Drawing Room
Further Reading
  • The group of commedia dell’arte figures includes the couples Mezzetin and Flaminia, and Silvia and Harlequin, with Pierrot standing behind.
    Lancret painted the work not much after the time, when Watteau became a member of the Academy with his 'Pèlerinage à l'Ile de Cythère' (Paris, Musée du Louvre). Lancret adapted to the successful model of Watteau's Fêtes galantes, elegant, peaceful open-air gatherings, often with music and participants in theatre costumes. Lancret's work in c. 1717/20 is particularly close to Watteau, before he finds his own personal idiom. In this case, the group on the right is very close to Watteau's 'Voulez-vous triompher des Belles' (P387). X-Rays of the painting reveal that Lancret considerably changed the setting of the scene, a clear indication that he is experimenting with the new genre of the Fête galante.