Throughout his short life,Jean Antoine Watteaupainted several masterpieces such as Feast in a Park and Embarkation for Cythera. And of all of them, the one that is considered the last great creation of his is this canvas ofGersaint's samplefrom the year 1720 and that can be seen in thePalace of Berlin Charlottenburg. A painting of considerable dimensions since it is more than 3 meters wide and 166 centimeters high.
The Gersaint de Watteau Show
The painting was commissioned by the antique dealer Edmé François Gersaint who was also a friend of his. In fact, he lived with him the last years of his life. His goal was to decorate his business “Au grand monarche”. That is why the canvas is the representation of an authentic art gallery, in which we can also appreciate the tastes that triumphed at the time. For example, it can be discovered that in the most visible places in the gallery are the paintings of mythological themes loaded with sensuality. While in the highest areas, and therefore the least conspicuous, there are works of a religious nature.
Furthermore, we see the atmosphere and the work that there would be in these commercial places, which mixed art, economy and social relations.
On the left side you can see a boy guarding a painting that would be a portrait of King Louis XIV, a deceased monarch who was no longer a fashionable effigy. It is clear that the intention ofpainter was to show the change that this had meant and that a lighter and more frivolous time had arrived.
In the center we see a young man who is inviting a lady to enter the gallery. It has been speculated that he was a self-portrait ofWatteauhimself. We see that woman from behind, but the treatment of her presence is exquisite, since she illuminates the entire area with the pink and silver dress, in addition to the shine and texture of her dress is sensational.
A little further to the right we see an oval painting, which is presented by Gersaint himself to some aristocrats. The scene can't be more of the rococo taste. It is the representation of naked nymphs who are bathing. Potential buyers observe it in great detail and with passion, in fact, one of them is kneeling to see all the details up close. Which is not without a somewhat ironic tone, as if the painter were making fun of the taste and snobbery of the we althiest classes, who, after all, were the ones who bought his paintings from him.
Other aristocrats, decked out in their pompous suits and wigs, are looking at a small painting shown to them by Mrs. Gersaint at the counter.
That is to say, in some way it is a genre scene, of customs, but linked to art and its commerce. And in a somewhat artificial world, do not forget to put in the lower right corner there is a dog scratching itself, which is a detail of realism, which is not usually very common in rococo art.