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Watteau’s Soldiers

Frick Collection, New York

NOW CLOSED

Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France

It would be difficult to think of an artist further removed from the muck and misery of war than Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721), who is known as a painter of amorous aristocrats and melancholy actors. And yet, early in his career, Watteau painted a number of scenes of military life. They were produced during one of the darkest chapters of France’s history, the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), but the martial glory on which most military painters trained their gaze held no interest for Watteau. Read more.

Preview the exhibition below | The top five exhibitions opening this week

The Supply Train

The Supply Train (c. 1715), Jean-Antoine Watteau. Collection Lionel and Ariane Sauvage

The Cavalry Camp

The Cavalry Camp (1638–68), Philips Wouwerman. The Frick Collection. Photo: Michael Bodycomb

Studies of Foot Soldiers, a Drummer, and Two Cavaliers (verso)

Studies of Foot Soldiers, a Drummer, and Two Cavaliers (verso) (1709–10), Jean-Antoine Watteau. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. Photo: Scottish National Gallery

The Portal of Valenciennes

The Portal of Valenciennes (c. 1710–11), Jean-Antoine Watteau. The Frick Collection. Photo: Michael Bodycomb

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