Antoine Watteau, Five studies of a seated woman seen from behind, a drawing

France, about AD 1712-15

The studies are drawn from life in red chalk. The drawing was intended for figures in one of Watteau's many scenes where men and women feast in the countryside, talking, flirting and making music. The pose of the woman at lower left was used in a lost painting, Escortes dequipages, by Watteau; its appearance was recorded in one of the many engravings made after his pictures and drawings by his followers and admirers, including Boucher.

The costume is the main focus of Watteau's studies. The woman is seated on the ground so that her elaborate dress spreads out around her. This provides the artist with an excuse to study the movement of the drapery according to the different positions of her body. Each posture appears to be uncomfortable to hold for a long time. The play of light and shade, especially the strong shadows which the model casts, sets off the figure very clearly. Watteau, with red chalk alone, has studied the fall of light from the upper left on the complex drapery patterns. the drawing is remarkably detailed and controlled.

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More information


P. Hulton, Watteau: drawings in the Briti (London, The British Museum Press, 1980)

P. Rosenberg and L.A. Prat, Antoine Watteau 1684-1721: cat (Milan, Leonardo Arte, 1996)

M.M. Grasselli and P. Rosenberg, Watteau 1684-1721 (Washington DC, National Gallery of Art, 1984)


Height: 183.000 mm
Width: 251.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1895-9-15-944



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