The Wallace Collection

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An Italian Comedy Scene
  • Nicolas Lancret (1690 - 1743)
  • An Italian Comedy Scene
  • France
  • c.1734
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 28.8 x 36.8 cm
  • P401
  • Small Drawing Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Lancret depicts characters of the Commedia dell'arte off stage but acting according to their stage roles. The commedia dell’arte character Harlequin is shown in typically pantomimic pose propositioning a reluctant Colombine. To the left a group of seated young women mock the ridiculous preening stance of Harlequin’s rival Polichinelle. While Watteau was particularly interested in the tension between personality and role, Lancret has his characters act according to their stage persona, but continues Watteau's innovation to show the actors off stage.

    The whole recalls Lancret’s training with the theatrical painter Claude Gillot. The painting originally had a pendant, depicting a flute player, last recorded in a sale in New York in 1912.