Actors of the Comédie-Française

Actors of the Comédie-Française,[note 1] also traditionally known as The Coquettes (Les Coquettes; from Coquettes qui pour voir), is an oil on panel painting in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, by the French Rococo artist Antoine Watteau (1684–1721). Variously dated within the 1710s by scholars, the painting forms a compact half-length composition that combines portraiture and genre painting, notably influenced by Venetian school, the Le Nain brothers, and Watteau's master Claude Gillot; one of the rarest cases in Watteau's body of work, it shows five figures — two women, two men, and a black boy — amid a darkened background, in contrary to landscapes that are usually found in Watteau's fêtes galantes.

Actors of the Comédie-Française
Coquettes qui pour voir
Antoine Watteau 062.jpg
ArtistAntoine Watteau
Yearc. 1711–1718
See § Dating
CatalogueH 30; G 78; DV 36; R 107; HA 154; EC 162; F B32; RM 118; RT 77
Mediumoil on panel
Dimensions20 cm × 25 cm (7.9 in × 9.8 in)
LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

For three centuries, there were numerous attempts to identify the subject and the characters represented by Watteau; various authors thought the painting to be either a theatrical scene featuring commedia dell'arte masks, or a group portrait of Watteau's contemporaries. Beginning from the late 20th century, Russian and Western sources accept a theory developed within the Hermitage Museum that holds the painting to be a group portrait of the Comédie-Française players who performed in the playwright Florent Carton Dancourt's play The Three Cousins. Given a variety of available interpretations, the painting has been known under a number of various titles; its traditional naming is derived from anonymous verses, with which the painting was published as an etching in the 1730s.

By the mid-18th century, Actors of the Comédie-Française belonged to Louis Antoine Crozat, Baron de Thiers [fr], a nephew of the Parisian merchant and art collector Pierre Crozat; as part of the Crozat collection, the painting was acquired in 1772 for Empress Catherine II of Russia. Since then the painting was among Russian imperial collections in the Hermitage and, later, in the Gatchina Palace, before entering the Hermitage again in the 1920s; as part of the museum's permanent exhibition, it remains on display in the Winter Palace.


Actors of the Comédie-Française is an oil painting on a pearwood panel that measures approximately 20 by 25 cm.[3][4] The painting is a compact half-length composition that shows five figures standing around a high wooden balustrade; most of the figures can be related to extant drawings, either directly or through comparable studies in Watteau's body of work. It has been noted by scholars that the half-length representation of Watteau's painting was influenced by Venetian painting;[5] influences from French school such as the Le Nain brothers[6] and Watteau's master Claude Gillot[7] are also cited.

The rightmost figure is an outwardly old man dressed in a skullcap; he stands upon a cane in the left hand, while holding a mushroom hat in the right hand. The figure is generally associated with an early full-length sanguine study (PM 64; RP 75), published as an etching engraved by Jean Audran (FDC 157); the earlier version of the subject was introduced by Watteau in Marriage Contract and Country Dancing (now in the Prado, Madrid)[8] and L'Accordee du Village (now in Sir John Soane's Museum, London).[9] It has been noted, however, that the study is probably a reduced version of a larger, more vibrant study drawn from life, similar to other studies such as the ones located in the British Museum, London (PM 84; RP 130), and in the Teylers Museum, Harlem (PM 53; RP 135), respectively. Given the rendering of the hand holding the cane and the quality of the man's face, it has been suggested that Watteau relied on additional drawings for the painting.[10]

By the balustrade's other side, a young girl is shown in a lightly colored, striped dress with ruff, standing behind a black boy servant in green-striped clothes; over the girl's shoulder, a head of a young man, dressed as Mezzetino, appears in a large motley beret. The girl and the boy's figures are usually related to a Louvre sheet of eight head studies, with the boy's head directly adopted into the Hermitage painting; the girl's figure is also thought to be related to the Louvre drawing, exactly a girl's head notably used in a version of The Embarkation for Cythera located in the Charlottenburg Palace.[11] Young people of color were a recurrent theme in Watteau's paintings and drawings, possibly influenced by works of Paolo Veronese; these are also present in Les Charmes de la vie (Wallace Collection, London), La Conversation (Toledo Museum of Art), and Les Plaisirs du Bal (Dulwich Gallery, London). The head of the young man has no directly related drawings, but is notably present, with slight differences, in The Italian Comedians now in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the figure has also been associated by Nemilova with a head on a sheet of studies located in a private collection in New York City (PM 746; RP 456) and, to a lesser success, with a figure from a sheet now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (PM 665; RP 475),[12] while Yuri Zolotov [ru] thought the head to be related with Il Capitano's figure present in the Louvre-owned Pierrot.[13]

Opposite to the old man, the leftmost figure is a young woman turned to the right in profile, wearing Polish-styled red dress and white chipper, leaning on the balustrade and holding a black mask in the right hand; from the X-ray analysis, it has been found that she was to be bareheaded, wearing a different attire, and had to have her mask placed on the balustrade rather than holding it.[14] Similarly to the old man's figure, the woman's figure has been related to an early, small, full-length study (RP 44) of a similarly dressed yet differently posed woman, that has been adopted into a more detailed drawing, later used in The Polish Woman, traditionally but not definitively attributed to Watteau (now in the National Museum, Warsaw). Various studies of women's hands holding masks have been related to the painting, with a study in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (PM 828; RP 417), regarded as the closest. There is also a now untraced sanguine and black chalk study of the woman and the boy (PM 541; RP R591) that closely corresponds, albeit in reverse, with the painting; Parker and Mathey, who attributed the drawing to Watteau, considered it to be a preliminary study,[15] and so did Nemilova and, during the 1984–1985 exhibition, Rosenberg; however, Eidelberg rejected that relation, as well as the sheet's authenticity, pointing out that the drawing is more corresponding to the etching rather than to the painting;[16] in the 1996 catalogue raisonné, Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat also list the sheet as rejected.[17][citation needed]

The painting is generally in good condition, despite losses and restorations underwent in the past.[18] Damages found via visual observations include a restored crack along the old man's cloak, to the right; there are cracks in shaded areas, more importantly along the lower edge and around the girl's head; a loss has been painted in above the girl's left shoulder.[19] X-ray analysis of the painting, performed by Soviet scholars in the 1970s, has also revealed alterations made to the leftmost figure during the painting's production: the woman was to be bare-headed rather than wearing the bonnet, and was to wear a free-flowing costume with horizontal stripes, different from a Polish-styled one found in the final painting; her hand didn't hold the mask, but lay on the banister.[20]

Identity of the subjectEdit

Until the middle of the 20th century, sources and studies on Watteau variously defined the work's subject. In notes to Pellegrino Antonio Orlandi's Abecedario pittorico, Pierre-Jean Mariette referred to the work as Coquettes qui pour voir galans au rendez vous (transl. "Coquettish women, who to meet gallant men go around..."), after the first verses of quatrains accompanying Thomassin's engraving for the Recueil Jullienne; Mariette thought the panel depicts "people in disguise for a ball, among whom is one dressed as an old man."[21] François-Bernard Lépicié refers to the composition as Retour de Bal in a 1741 obituary of Henri Simon Thomassin [fr], believing the figures to be returning from a ball;[22]: 569 [23] in contrary, Catalogue Crozat of 1755 and Dezallier d'Argenville fils described it as a depiction of masked figures preparing for a ball.[24][25]

Later sources, more prominently in France and Russia, similarly had various definitions on the subject: Johann Ernst von Munnich [ru] refers to the work as Personnages en masques (transl. "Characters in Masks") in the manuscript catalogue of the Hermitage collection;[26] the Hermitage's 1797 catalogue features the title The Mascarade,[27] whereas the 1859 inventory registry features only the work's description—"two women, talking with two men, and a negro beside them".[28][29] In his writings, Pierre Hédouin [fr] referred to the work as Le Rendez-vous du bal masqué,[30] before Edmond de Goncourt's Catalogue raisonné... introduced the Mariette-mentioned title into common use.[31]

In an 1896 article published in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, the French author Gaston Schéfer was the first to consider The Coquettes to be based on portrait drawings rather than being a theatrical scene. Schéfer suggested from an inscription under Boucher's etching after the Berlin drawing, found in a copy of Figures des differents caracteres held by the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, that the old man on the right of the painting was modelled after Pierre-Maurice Haranger, a canon of the Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois who was a close friend of Watteau; the lady in red was thought by Schéfer to be the Comédie-Française actress Charlotte Desmares,[note 2] based on comparison of the composition with Lepicié's etching of her portrait by Charles-Antoine Coypel.[a] Later in the early 1900s, playwright Virgile Josz presumed the painting to be a depiction of commedia dell'arte masks, with the old man as Pantalone, the women as Rosaura and Isabella, and the young man as Scapino;[35] in later years, these points were adopted by a number of scholars[note 3] Josz's contemporary Louis de Fourcaud considered figures to be a family group dressed for an elegant masquerade."[41][42]

In a 1950 monograph on Watteau, Hélène Adhémar identified the lady in red as Charlotte Desmares, similarly to Schéfer;[43] Adhémar's point was furthered in Karl Parker and Jacques Mathey's 1957–1958 catalogue of Watteau drawings; they concluded that the old man could be another Comédie-Française player, Pierre Le Noir.[note 4] In the Soviet Union, the Hermitage staff member Inna Nemilova supported these points, and also concluded the young man to be Philippe Poisson.[46][47] In addition, Nemilova pointed out Desmares could be possibly depicted by Watteau in both versions of The Embarkation for Cythera, and also other canvas[note 5] and various drawings.[48]


In an article on the Hermitage's 1922–1925 exhibition of French paintings, published in the March 1928 issue of Gazette des Beaux-Arts, the Russian scholar Sergei Ersnt [ru] reported that according to an inscription found on the panel's verso, The Coquettes belonged to the painter Nicolas Bailly [fr][note 6] (1659–1736), a curator of the royal collections who authored a 1709–1710 inventory of the paintings in possession of King Louis XIV;[50] in 1984, Rosenberg said that he wasn't surprised about Ernst's report, given Bailly's relations within artistic circles.[note 7] The label has been deciphered as "N Bailly [prove]nant <...> de lonay aux gallery;" it has been noted that de Lonay was an expert mentioned by the Parisian merchant and art collector Pierre Crozat — once a patron of Watteau — in his last will and testament;[51] in the early 1900s, Virgile Josz speculated that Crozat could once own the painting.[52]

By the mid-18th century, The Coquettes came into possession of Louis Antoine Crozat, Baron de Thiers [fr], Pierre Crozat's nephew; it was present in the 1755 catalogue of Crozat de Thiers' collection,[24] and later in the 1771 inventory compiled by François Tronchin [fr] upon the collector's death.[53] As part of the Crozat collection, The Coquettes was acquired for the Hermitage, then recently established by Empress Catherine the Great in Saint Petersburg.[54] At some point in the mid-19th century, the painting was taken to the Gatchina Palace; it was present in the Oval Chamber, a personal room of Tsar Paul I in the palace's ground floor, where it was photographed in the early 1910s.[55] In 1920, The Coquettes was restored to the Hermitage; as part of the museum's contemporary exhibition, the painting is on display in room 284, formerly the second room of military pictures in the Winter Palace.[56][57]


Authenticity of the panel has never been seriously questioned until the early 20th century, when the Russian art historian Nicolas Wrangel [ru] considered it to be a copy by Philippe Mercier, a prominent English follower of Watteau; in a letter to the German scholar Ernst Heinrich Zimmermann [de], who compiled an album and catalogue of Watteau's work, Wrangel pointed out that the blond actress lacks the coiffure seen in Thomassin's print, and there were also differences in the actor at the right.[49] On the Russian fellow's advice, Zimmermann had classified the painting among the "doubtful pictures".[58][59] In the early 1970s, the panel's authenticity was questioned in the four-volume survey edited by Jean Ferré that, based on Wrangel's doubts and inconsistency found in contemporary sources, listed The Coquettes as "attributed to Watteau."[60] Later studies have ruled reservations out, given the work's condition as well as related drawings and Thomassin's print; in the 1960s, Nemilova presumed Wrangel have been led to his conclusion because of the painting's obscurity during its provenance in the Gatchina Palace;[61] much later, Martin Eidelberg adds that Mercier could not paint with the same characteristics and artistic level Watteau had.[49]


Dating of the painting remains somewhat imprecise, varying from early to late years of Watteau's career.[62] In 1950, Adhémar listed The Coquettes as a Spring-Autumn 1716 work.[63] In 1957, Charles Sterling suggested a 1716–1717 dating,[64][65] while in 1959, Jacques Mathey proposed a relatively early date of 1714.[66] Regarding aforementioned datings as too late, Nemilova dated the painting c. 1711–1712;[note 8] the Soviet scholar based her dating on comparing the painting with Du bel âge...,[note 9] a lost painting by Watteau that is similarly a half-length composition, having compositional rhythm and visual features similar to these found on the Hermitage painting. In her dating, Nemilova also relied upon several other works attributed to the early 1710s by Adhémar and Mathey: La Conversation, The Dreamer, La Polonnoise, and Polish Woman; to Nemilova, who considered Polish-styled costumes to be fashionable in France during the early 1710s, in light of the then recent Battle of Poltava, the sitter's dress was the most important point for her dating.[76]

In later publications, a variety of dating is also given. In a 1968 catalogue raisonné, Ettore Camesasca preferred c. 1717,[23] a dating also used by Donald Posner and Federico Zeri.[77] In the 1980s, Marianne Roland Michel attributed The Coquettes to c. 1712–1714, but later in 1984, she dated it c. 1714–1715, objecting Nemilova's dating as too early and not taking into account the psychological study of subjects.[78] In the 1984–1985 exhibition catalogue, Rosenberg also dates it c. 1714–1715,[79] and so does Mary Vidal.[80] In 2000, Helmut Börsch-Supan chose a later dating to c. 1718,[81] and in 2002, Renaud Temperini proposed c. 1716–1717;[82] in a 2004 thesis, Belova proposes a c. 1717–1718 dating, based on her analysis.[83]

Related printsEdit

In the early 1730s, Actors of the Comédie-Française was published as an etching in reverse by Henri Simon Thomassin [fr].[21] The print was notably mentioned in François-Bernard Lépicié's obituary notice for Thomassin that appeared in the March 1741 issue of Mercure de France, and later by Pierre-Jean Mariette in Notes manuscrites; in subsequent years, it served as a source to a number of pastiches.

Thomassin's etching was anonymously reproduced as a miniature print, captioned L'Amour, sous un déguisment.... A Favourite Sultana (also called Preparation for the Masquerade), an oval stipple print depicting the turbaned woman at the right of Thomassin's engraving, was produced in London in 1785 by Italian-born artist Francesco Bartolozzi, and has the misleading declaration "Watteau pinxt."[84] Another engraving of the composition, called La Comédie italienne, was produced by Félix-Jean Gauchard after Thomassin's print, to accompany the entry on Watteau published in Charles Blanc's series Histoire des peintres des toutes les écoles. École français in 1862-63.[85][86]

Mascarade (also spelled Masquerade), a mezzotint by French-born English printmaker John Simon, was mentioned by Charles Le Blanc[87] and John Chaloner Smith[88][89] in their respective studies, and was presumed to be a repetition of Thomassin's print by some authors (notably including Dacier and Vuaflart[90]), given similarity in the number of characters.

Exhibition historyEdit

List of major exhibitions featuring the work
Year Title Location Cat. no. References
1908 Les anciennes écoles de peinture dans les palais et collections privées russes, by the Starye gody [ru] magazine Imperial Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Saint Petersburg 286 [36][91]: 250[92]
1922–1925 Temporary exhibition of new acquisition from French painting of the 17th and 18th centuries Hermitage Museum, Petrograd (later Leningrad) * [38][37]
1955 An Exhibition of French Art of the 15th-20th Centuries Pushkin Museum, Moscow * [93]
1956 An Exhibition of French Art of the 12th-20th Centuries Hermitage Museum, Leningrad * [94]
1965 Chefs-d'oeuvre de la peinture française dans les musees de l'Ermitage et de Moscou Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, Bordeaux 43 [95]: 611 [96]
1965–1966 Chefs-d'oeuvre de la peinture française dans les musees de l'Ermitage et de Moscou Louvre, Paris 41 [97][98]: 614 [96]
1972 Watteau and His Time Hermitage Museum, Leningrad 5 [99][100]
1980 Les arts du théâtre de Watteau à Fragonard Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, Bordeaux 67 [101]
1984 Антуан Ватто. 300 лет со дня рождения Hermitage Museum, Leningrad * [102][103]: 78 
1984–1985 Watteau 1684–1721 National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris; Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin P. 29 [104]
General references: Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, p. 313, Nemilova 1985b, p. 445, Eidelberg 2019.
"*" denotes an unnumbered entry.


  1. ^ "L'étude n" 198, gravée par Boucher, nous représente le barbon de la Comédie italienne, posé de trois quarts, assis sur une chaise. Il est coiffé d'une perruque à cheveux longs. Une autre étude (n° 69), également gravée par Boucher, le figure de face, un large chapeau sur la tète. Sous l'étude n" 198, Mariette a écrit : « Portrait de l'abbé Larancher. » C'est ainsi qu'il est nommé également dans le Mercure. Mais il a effacé le nom et l'a corrigé par « Aranger », selon l'orthographe de l'Abecedario. Un prêtre sous un tel habit, voilà qui paraît surprenant; mais au XVIIIe siècle l'Eglise avait sa bonhomie. Watteau ne croyait pas plus faire œuvre de scandale en déguisant l'abbé Haranger sous la perruque de Géronte que Cochin en dessinant l'abbé Pommyer sous l'habit du Paysan de Gandelu. D'ailleurs, l'abbé Haranger avait une si bonne physionomie de théâtre que l'on rencontre son portrait sous un autre nom : « La Thourilère, La Thorillière. » Peut-être même une autre étude de l'abbé Haranger a-t-elle servi au vieillard du tableau des Coquettes. Mais ici la ressemblance n'est pas assez directe pour qu'on puisse rien affirmer.
    Ce tableau des Coquettes n'est probablement fait que de portraits, de ces têtes d'etudes que Watteau crayonnait sur ses cahiers. Quels portraits? nous l'ignorons. Tout au plus hasarderons-nous quelque supposition vraisemblable sur cette jeune femme au nez retroussé, aux joues rebondies, que l'on voit à droit, coiffée d'un grand bonnet oriental et qui rappelle Mlle Desmares, de la Comédie Française. Assurément, ce n'est pas la Pèlerine dont Watteau a tracé la frête silhouette dans les "Figures de Mode"; cette figurine est si menue que l'on a peine à distinguer sa physionomie. Mais le grande portrait de Lepicié nous donne assez exactement le visage et les formes abondantes de la comédienne pour que notre hypothèse soit autorisée."[34]


  1. ^ Russian: «Актёры Французского театра»,[1] usually translated into English as Actors of the Comédie-Française.[2] For details on variant titles of the painting, see § Naming.
  2. ^ Christine Antoinette Charlotte Desmares (1682–1753) performed in the Comédie-Française from 1690 to 1721; at some point, she was a mistress of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. According to François Moureau's article "Watteau in His Time" published in the Watteau, 1684–1721 exhibition catalogue, Desmares "had numerous reasons for meeting Watteau."[32] Nemilova presumed that Watteau was introduced to Desmares by his friend, Mercure de France editor Antoine de Laroque.[33]
  3. ^ Virgile Josz's description of Coquettes... had been notably represented in Russian literature in the early 20th century, adopted by authors such as Alexandre Benois,[36] Valentin Miller,[37] and Sergei Ersnt [ru],[38]: 172–173  as well as the Hermitage Museum's 1958 catalogue of the painting collection; [39] it was present in Western sources, as well[40]
  4. ^ Pierre Le Noir, sieur de la Thorillière (September 3, 1659 — September 18, 1731), also called La Thorillière Jr. or La Thorillière fils, was the son of François Le Noir, dit La Thorillière, a prominent actor associated with Molière's company. He joined the latter in 1671 as a touring player, and passed into the Comédie-Française following its establishment in 1680; in 1684, Le Noir became a sociétaire of the Comédie-Française. Early in his career, Le Noir performed secondary tragic and comic characters, before going to a greater success into à manteau roles he played following the company-mate Jean-Baptiste Raisin's death in 1693. In November 1685, Le Noir had married Caterina Biancolelli, the Columbina of the original Comédie-Italienne and daughter of Domenico Bianconelli, the said troupe's Harlequin; he was also the brother-in-law to his company-mate, the playwright and actor Dancourt. Le Noir retired in August 1731, shortly before his death a month later; he was succeeded by the son, Anne-Maurice Le Noir.[44][45]
  5. '^ These include The Island of Cythera (The Embarkations preceding work, now in the Städel Museum in Frankfurt), The Dreamer (now in the Art Institute of Chicago), The Polish Woman (copy in the National Museum, Warsaw), and the lost La Polonnoise engraved by Michel Aubert [fr].
  6. ^ Zolotov 1973, p. 138, translated into English as Zolotov 1985, p. 98 and Zolotov 1996, p. 88, refers to the owner as N. Bolz which, according to Eidelberg 2019, may be an error in transcription from French to Russian.[49]
  7. ^ Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, pp. 311–312, states that through his sisters Geneviève and Jeanne, Bailly was a brother-in-law to the etcher Simon Philippe Thomassin [fr] and the architect Jean Sylvain Cartaud [fr].
  8. ^ Hermitage Museum 1958, p. 270, and Nemilova 1964, p. 182, date The Coquettes c. 1712. Nemilova 1970, p. 156, Hermitage Museum 1976, p. 189, and subsequent iterations of Nemilova's research (Zolotov 1973, pp. 139–140, translated into English as Zolotov 1985, p. 100 and Zolotov 1996, p. 88; Nemilova 1982, p. 133, cat. no. 45, reiterated as Nemilova 1985b, p. 445, cat. no. 348; Nemilova 1985a, p. 222), maintain a c. 1711–1712 dating. Claims of Nemilova's other or changed datings, notably claimed by Camesasca, and later during the Bordeaux exhibition of 1980,[67] are considered to be incorrect.[68]
  9. ^ Du bel âge..., also called Le Concert, is a presumably lost painting that has been published as an etching by Jean Moyreau [fr], announced for sale in the June 1728 issue of Mercure de France; in the Recueil Jullienne, Moyreau's print appears on the same sheet with Benoît Audran the Younger's etching after Les entretiens badins..., a Watteau painting that is also presumed lost. According to Goncourt, Du bel âge... was likely the painting formerly in Vivant Denon's collection, featured on the latter's sale in 1826.[69] According to Dacier and Vuaflart, Du bel âge... and Les entretiens badins... appeared on the market at the Caissotti sale in February 1850; however, it was stated by Eidelberg that the Caissotti painting was a different composition from not likely Du bel âge..., for it featured six figures of commedia dell'arte masks, whilst Du bel âge... has only four.[70][71] Adhémar and Posner dated Du bel âge... c. 1712,[72] while Mathey used a dating not earlier than 1704–1705.[73] Camesasca, who considered Du bel âge... and Les entretiens badins... to be pendants, used a 1710 dating.;[74] in the 1980s, Roland Michel dated the lost painting c. 1712–1714, thinking it to be a pendant to The Coquettes.[75][71]



  1. ^ Nemilova 1985b, p. 444.
  2. ^ Zolotov 1985, p. 98; Deryabina 1989, pp. 403–404; Eidelberg 2006, p. 431.
  3. ^ Nemilova 1964, p. 181; Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, p. 311.
  4. ^ "Ватто, Антуан. 1684-1721 Актёры итальянской комедии 1711-1712 гг". Коллекции онлайн (in Russian). State Hermitage Museum. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  5. ^ Börsch-Supan 2000, p. 47, saying of the composition, states its similarity to these found in Giorgione and Titian's art. Zeri 2000, pp. 26, 45, also mentions the Venetian influence on the half-length representation of figures which, according to Zeri, was unusual to Watteau, bringing out the portrait aspect of the painting. Belova 2006, pp. 58, 60–61 n. 3, defines the composition in what is called "hidden simplicity" of the figures' smooth, circle-based layout, stating that Venetian painting influenced not only the composition of Watteau's painting, but also its later reception; in a footnote, Actors of the Comédie-Française is compared to Titian's painting The Concert, also cited as an example of portrait turned genre painting.
  6. ^ Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, p. 313: "Through the strange hairstyles, ruffs, and costumes, painted with little touches in the style of Le Nain, Watteau holds our attention."
  7. ^ Barker 1939, pp. 133–134, names The Coquettes among works that "are all more or less influenced by Gillot, some of whose figures Watteau has introduced unchanged into his pictures."
  8. ^ Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, p. 312; Shvartsman 2013, p. 26.
  9. ^ Parker & Mathey 1957–1958, p. 11, vol. 1, cat. no. 64; Rosenberg & Prat 1996, p. 120, vol. 1, cat. no. 75.
  10. ^ Nemilova 1989, p. 146; Eidelberg 2019.
  11. ^ Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, pp. 89, 313.
  12. ^ Nemilova 1989, pp. 142, 144; Shvartsman 2013, p. 46; Eidelberg 2019.
  13. ^ Zolotov 1968, p. 30; Zolotov 1984, p. 65.
  14. ^ Nemilova 1964, p. 181; Nemilova 1985b, p. 444.
  15. ^ Parker & Mathey 1957–1958, p. 309, cat. no. 541.
  16. ^ Eidelberg 1985–1986, p. 104.
  17. ^ Rosenberg & Prat 1996, p. 1308, vol. 3, cat. no. R591.
  18. ^ Montagni 1968, p. 113, translated as Camesasca 1971, p. 115: "[...] Nor does it reveal Watteau's swiftness of execution. But this may be a result of too drastic cleaning or restoration;" Zeri 2000, p. 26: "Similar to many other Watteau paintings, this one has undergone repaintings which have altered their quality;" Eidelberg 2019: "Despite losses and restorations, it is in remarkably good condition."
  19. ^ Nemilova 1964, p. 181.
  20. ^ Nemilova 1985b, p. 444; Zolotov 1985, p. 98.
  21. ^ a b Dacier & Vuaflart 1922b, p. 23.
  22. ^ Lépicié, François-Bernard (March 1741). "Lettre sur la mort de M. Thomassin". Mercure de France (in French). pp. 568–570 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ a b Montagni 1968, p. 113, translated as Camesasca 1971, p. 115.
  24. ^ a b Crozat, Louis Antoine (1755). Catalogue des tableaux du cabinet de M. Crozat Baron de Thières á Paris (in French). Paris. p. 65 – via the Internet Archive.
  25. ^ Dezallier d'Argenville, Antoine-Nicolas (1757) [1749]. Voyage Pictoresque de Paris (in French). Paris. p. 140 – via Google Books. Des personnages en masque se préparant pour le bal, par Watteau. Il y en a une estampe gravée par Thomassin.
  26. ^ Munnich, Johann Ersnt von (1773–1783). Catalogue raisonné des tableaux qui trouvent dans les Galeries et Cabinets du Palais Impérial à Saint-Pétersbourg (in French). Vol. 1. p. 274. Cat. no. 873.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  27. ^ Labensky, F. I., ed. (1797). Каталог картинам, хранящимся в Императорской Галерее Эрмитажа [Catalogue of Paintings housed in the Imperial Hermitage Gallery] (in Russian). Vol. 2. p. 55. Cat. no. 2545.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  28. ^ Опись картинам и плафонам, состоящим в заведывании II отделения Императорского Эрмитажа [Inventory of paintings and plafonds in the office of the Second Department of the Imperial Hermitage Museum] (in Russian). 1859. Cat. no. 1699{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  29. ^ Nemilova 1964, pp. 81, 181; Nemilova 1970, pp. 145–146; Nemilova 1989, p. 133.
  30. ^ Hédouin, P. (November 30, 1845). "Watteau: catalogue de son oeuvre". L'Artiste. pp. 78–80 – via Gallica. See also Hédouin 1856, p. 97, cat. no. 30{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  31. ^ Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, pp. 312–313; Eidelberg 2019: "Beginning with Edmond de Goncourt, it has become customary to assign the painting the awkward name of Coquettes qui pour voir, the opening words of the two quatrains that appears under the Thomassin engraving."
  32. ^ Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, p. 477.
  33. ^ Nemilova 1970, p. 156; Nemilova 1989, p. 152.
  34. ^ Schéfer 1896, pp. 185186.
  35. ^ Josz 1903, pp. 329–330; Josz 1904, p. 146.
  36. ^ a b Benois 1908, p. 729, translated into French as Benois 1910, p. 114: "D'un tout autre genre est un petit tableau de Watteau connu dans la gravure sous le nom «Les Coquettes». Le coloris n'en est pas recherché, mais les characters d'Isabelle la rusée, du stupide Pantalon, de la gaie Rosaure et du fourbe Scapin sont rendus avec amour et une grande finessee."
  37. ^ a b Miller 1923, p. 59
  38. ^ a b Ernst, Serge (March 1928). "L'exposition de peinture française des XVIIe et XVIIIe siecles au musée de l'Ermitage, a Petrograd (1922–1925)". Gazette des Beaux-Arts (in French). Vol. 17, no. 785. pp. 163–182. Retrieved March 29, 2019 – via Gallica.
  39. ^ Hermitage Museum 1958, p. 270.
  40. ^ Baldini 1970, p. 109: "Antoine Watteau: The Comedians. Wood. 20 × 25 cm. This group of theatrical actors, a work that originates from the Crozat Collection, excels by reason pof the individuality of the portraits it contains. Here, in contrast to his imaginary theatre scenes, the artist's intention is to achieve true likenesses of these actors of the commedia dell'arte who are obviously still full of the roles they have played. The technical accomplishmment underlines the liveliness of the figures and has all the freshness of a sketch done from life."
  41. ^ Fourcaud 1904a, pp. 143–144.
  42. ^ Nemilova 1964, pp. 81, 181; Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, p. 312; Nemilova 1989, p. 133.
  43. ^ Adhémar 1950, p. 119: "[...] tandis que Mlle Desmares, coiffée d'un grand bonnet d'orientale, figure dans les Coquettes; elle aurait prête aussi ses traits à la figure centrale de L'Embarkment."
  44. ^ Mongrédien, Georges (1972) [1961]. Dictionnaire biographique des comédiens français du XVIIe siècle (in French). Paris: Centre national de la recherche scientifique. pp. 107108. OCLC 654213036 – via the Internet Archive.
  45. ^ Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, p. 478
  46. ^ Belova 2006, pp. 58–59.
  47. ^ Zolotov 1973, p. 139; Nemilova 1982, pp. 131–133; Nemilova 1989, pp. 137–138, 140, 142, 144, 146.
  48. ^ Nemilova 1964, pp. 86–87, 91.
  49. ^ a b c Eidelberg 2019.
  50. ^ Ernst 1928, pp. 172–173.
  51. ^ Nemilova 1985b, pp. 444–445.
  52. ^ Josz 1903, p. 328, reiterated as Josz 1904, p. 146; cited in Benois 1908, p. 729, translated into French as Benois 1910, p. 114.
  53. ^ Stuffmann 1968, p. 135.
  54. ^ Nemilova 1975, p. 436.
  55. ^ Marishkina, V. F. (2017). Фотограф Императорского Эрмитажа [Photographer of the Imperial Hermitage] (in Russian). Saint Petersburg: The State Hermitage Publishers. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-5-93572-732-1. OCLC 1022848562.
  56. ^ Nemilova 1964, pp. 28–29, 182.
  57. ^ Dobrovolsky, Vladimir (2018) [first published in Russian in 2009]. The Hermitage (guidebook). Foreword by Mikhail Piotrovsky; translated from the Russian by Valery Fateyev. Saint Petersburg: Alfa Colour. p. 74. ISBN 978-5-9778-0050-1.
  58. ^ Zimmermann 1912, p. 186: "Grave par H. S. Thomassin fils (G. 78). Die Zeichnung des Bildes wirkt in der Reproduktion sehr flau. Baron Nikolaus Wrangel von der Ermitage in St. Petersburg war so liebenswürdig, mir mitzuteilen, daß er das Bild für eine Kopie von Mercier halte. Ich selbst konnte das Gemälde nicht untersuchen."
  59. ^ Ettinger, P. D. (1912). "Rossica". Apollon (in Russian). No. 7. pp. 61–62. {{cite magazine}}: External link in |issue= (help)
  60. ^ Ferré, Jean, ed. (1972). Watteau. Vol. 1. Madrid: Éditions Athena. vol. 1 pp. 151–152, vol. 3 p. 966; cat. no. B32. OCLC 906101135.
  61. ^ Nemilova 1964, pp. 28–29, 166 n. 4, 181; Nemilova 1982, p. 133; Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, pp. 311–312.
  62. ^ Bordeaux 1980, p. 110: "La date d'exécution de ce tableau est assez imprécise."
  63. ^ Adhémar 1950, p. 220, cat. no. 154.
  64. ^ Sterling 1958, p. 41: "The group of actors, sometimes called Return from the Ball, probably painted about 1716-17, brings together people of different ages, each described with the penetration and the tenderness of a portrait, each with his simplest expression, his most natural gesture, his pink, red, or black skin, his invariably sensitive but also invariably vigorous hands, their flesh solid and warm."
  65. ^ Nemilova 1982, p. 133, cat. no. 45, reiterated as Nemilova 1985b, p. 445, cat. no. 348, records Sterling's dating as 1713–1717.
  66. ^ Mathey 1959, p. 68.
  67. ^ Montagni 1968, p. 113, translated as Camesasca 1971, p. 115; Bordeaux 1980, p. 110
  68. ^ Nemilova 1985b, p. 445; Zolotov 1985, p. 100.
  69. ^ Goncourt 1875, pp. 161162.
  70. ^ Dacier & Vuaflart 1922a, p. 45.
  71. ^ a b Eidelberg, Martin (August 2020). "Du Bel âge". A Watteau Abecedario. Archived from the original on September 7, 2020. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  72. ^ Adhémar 1950, p. 210, cat. no. 84, pl. 37; Posner 1984, p. 290.
  73. ^ Mathey 1959, p. 66.
  74. ^ Montagni 1968, p. 98, translated as Camesasca 1971, p. 100
  75. ^ Roland Michel 1980, pp. 42, 44, cat. no. 119.
  76. ^ Nemilova 1964, p. 182; Nemilova 1970, p. 156; Nemilova 1985b, p. 445.
  77. ^ Posner 1984, p. 290; Zeri 2000, pp. 26, 45, 48.
  78. ^ Roland Michel 1984, p. 217: "Inna Namilova [sic] datait cette œuvre de 1710–1712, ce qui semble très tôt si l'on tient compte du traitement des personnages et surtout de l'étude psychologique des physionomies, dans lesquelles on a voulu reconnaître des portraits de Mlle Desmares, de La Thorillière et d'autres comédiens; nous inclinons à en retarder l'exécution jusque vers 1714–1715."
  79. ^ Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, p. 312.
  80. ^ Vidal 1992, pp. 146–147.
  81. ^ Börsch-Supan 2000, pp. 46–47.
  82. ^ Temperini 2002, p. 145, cat. no. 77.
  83. ^ Belova 2006, p. 60.
  84. ^ Dacier & Vuaflart 1922a, p. 148; Roland Michel 1986, p. 55.
  85. ^ Dacier & Vuaflart 1922b, p. 23; Eidelberg 2019.
  86. ^ Maurouard, Elvire Jean-Jacques (2005). Les beautés noires de Baudelaire. Paris: Karthala. p. 158. ISBN 2-84586-651-8. OCLC 1078667797 – via Google Books.
  87. ^ Le Blanc, Charles (1854–1890). Manuel de l'amateur d'estampes (in French). Vol. 3. Paris: E. Bouillon. p. 521. OCLC 793563927 – via the Internet Archive. 190. Mascarade, cinq figures : Watteau. In-fol.
  88. ^ Smith, John Chaloner (1884). British Mezzotinto Portraits. Vol. 3. London: H. Sotheran. p. 1129. OCLC 679810041 – via the Internet Archive. 175. Masquerade. Watteau. Group of five figures, T. Q. L., lady in centre, holding out her dress, bust in grove in background to left. Under, Watteau Pinx. I. Simon fecit., 8 verses. In this small ——— Vertue lost. H. 14 ; Sub. 12 58 ; W. 9 78.
  89. ^ Smith, John Chaloner (1883). British Mezzotinto Portraits. Vol. 4. London: H. Sotheran. p. 1863. OCLC 1041620630 – via the Internet Archive. 175a. Companion. ID. Group of five figures, T. Q. L., black boy in centre, lady with mask to left. Under, Watteau pinxt. J. Simon fec et ex. (8 verses.) Past the delights —Spouse adorns. Same dimensions as 175.
  90. ^ Dacier & Vuaflart 1922b, pp. 23, 134.
  91. ^ Weiner, P. P. de (October 1908 – March 1909). "Portraits anciens à Saint-Pétersbourg (Exposition de)". L'Art et les Artistes (in French). 8: 243–256 – via Gallica. Une autre oeuvre de lui, qui est remarquable, mais qui n'a pas la portée de la Sainte Famille, les Coquettes, fut jadis gravée par Thomassin et appartient également au palais de Gatchina.
  92. ^ Benois 2006, pp. 18, 21.
  93. ^ Pushkin Museum, Moscow (1955). Выставка французского искусства XV-XX вв. Каталог (exhibition catalogue) (in Russian). Moscow: Iskusstvo. p. 24.
  94. ^ Hermitage Museum, Leningrad (1956). Выставка французского искусства XII-XX вв. (1956; Ленинград). Каталог (in Russian). Moscow: Iskusstvo. p. 12.
  95. ^ Charensol, Georges (June 15, 1965). "Les musées de Russie a Bordeaux". Revue des Deux Mondes (in French): 607–613. JSTOR 44590025. De la maturité date Le Retour du Bal, où, pense-t-on, Watteau a groupé autour d'un négrillon, quatre acteurs du Théâtre Français.
  96. ^ a b "French Paintings from the Hermitage and Pushkin Museum". French News: Theatre and Arts. No. 29. Autumn 1965. p. 25 – via Google Books.
  97. ^ Lemoyne de Forges, Marie-Thérèse, ed. (1965). Chefs-d'oeuvre de la peinture française dans les musées de Léningrad et de Moscou (exhibition catalogue). Paris: Ministère d'État des affaires culturelles. pp. XV, 108–109; cat. no. 41. OCLC 1138863.
  98. ^ Charensol, Georges (October 15, 1965). "L'Ermitage au Louvre". Revue des Deux Mondes (in French): 610–616. JSTOR 44591522. Une œuvre aussi médiocre n'avait certainement pas sa place à côté du Retour du Bal qui fut reproduit en gravure sous le titre Coquettes qui pour voir galants au Rendez-Vous, ce qui correspond assez mal au sujet qui montre deux ravissantes filles à mi-corps avec un petit nègre, un personnage de comédie et un père noble son vaste chapeau à la main. Watteau a soit peint des acteurs du Théâtre Français, soit déguisé les membres de la famille Bailly à qui il destinait le tableau. Acquis en 1755 par Crozat il fut acheté à la vente de 1772 par la Grande Catherine.
  99. ^ Hermitage Museum, Leningrad (1972). Ватто и его время. Leningrad: Avrora. pp. 12, 21. OCLC 990348938.
  100. ^ Cailleux 1972, p. 734: "[...] His theatre scenes, including the French Comedians (No. 5) are also the theatre of the Court."
  101. ^ Bordeaux 1980, p. 110.
  102. ^ Deryabina, E. V. (1987). "Антуан Ватто. 300 лет со дня рождения". Сообщения Государственного Эрмитажа (in Russian). 52: 75. ISSN 0132-1501.
  103. ^ "Художественная жизнь Советского Союза: июнь, июль, август". Iskusstvo (in Russian). November 1984. pp. 76–79. ISSN 0130-2523.
  104. ^ Opperman 1988, p. 359: "Watteau's approach to the theater changed with such works as Coquettes qui pour voir galants (no. 29) and Les habits sont italiens (lost) that represent, according to the best available but still unsatisfactory interpretation, portraits of his friends dressed up in theatrical costume to no particular end."


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  • Zeri, Federico (2000) [first published in Italian in 1998]. Watteau: The Embarkment for Cythera. One Hundred Paintings. Richmond Hill, Ontario: NDE Pub. pp. 26, 45, 48. ISBN 1553210182. OCLC 48003550 – via the Internet Archive.
  • Zimmermann, E. Heinrich (1912). Watteau: des Meisters Werke in 182 Abbildungen. Klassiker der Kunst (in German). Vol. 21. Stuttgart, Leipzig: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt. pp. 122, 190–191. OCLC 561124140.
  • Zolotov, Y. K. (1968). Французский портрет XVIII века [French Portrait in the Eighteenth Century]. Moscow: Iskusstvo. pp. 28, 30. OCLC 567935709.
  • Zolotov, Y. K., ed. (1973). Антуан Ватто [Antoine Watteau] (album and catalogue) (in Russian). Leningrad: Aurora. pp. 138–140, cat. no. 6. OCLC 46947007.
  • Zolotov, Yuri (November 1984). "Ватто: художественная традиция и творческая индивидуальность". Iskusstvo (in Russian). pp. 58–66. ISSN 0130-2523.
  • Zolotov, Yuri, ed. (1985). Antoine Watteau: Paintings and Drawings from Soviet Museums. Translated from the Russian by Vladimir Pozner. Leningrad: Aurora Publishers. pp. 8, 11, 98–100, ill. 8–11. OCLC 249485317.
  • Zolotov, Yuri, ed. (1996). Antoine Watteau: The Master of "Les Fêtes Galantes". Great Painters. English translation by Josephine Bacon. Bournemouth, St. Petersburg: Parkstone Press, Aurora Art Publishers. pp. 86–95, cat. no. 3. ISBN 185995183X. OCLC 37478254.

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