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Watteau’s SoldiersScenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France

Published by GILES in association with The Frick Collection, New York

Add to Cart US$39.95

Published — (UK and USA)

Dimensions — 112 pages, 250 x 210 mm, (8 ¼ x 10 in)

Illustrations — 82 colour

Format — Hardback

Price — UK£25.00 / US$39.95

ISBN — 978-1-907804-79-3

Press Release — New book offers a fresh interpretation of...

News  —  Watteau’s Peacefully Bittersweet War Scenes

            —  Watteau’s Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in...

Sales Points

  • "It is a fragile beauty that Watteau creates—fragile and all the more powerful for it"—Drawing
  • "A delightful and erudite composition which is easily accessible to all"—Tim Forrest's E & A

About the Book

Celebrated for his dreamlike paintings of amorous aristocrats and melancholy actors, Antoine Watteau (1684–1721) also produced a number of captivating works with military subjects—paintings and drawings––early in his career. They were executed when France was engaged in the costly and ultimately disastrous War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), but they look past the turbulence of battle and the heroic deeds of generals and kings to depict the more prosaic aspects of war––marches, halts, encampments, and bivouacs. They focus on the quiet moments between the fighting, outside of military discipline, when soldiers could rest and daydream and smoke pipes and play cards. Although they owe a debt to seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish precedents, they put forward a new, thoroughly modern vision of war in which the soldier’s inner life, his experience of war, is brought to the fore. 

The inclusion of preparatory drawings after live models, alongside a group of major finished oils, highlights the relationship between drawing and painting in Watteau’s work, and how he developed his ideas for the subject and composition of his paintings.Tre is also a full catalogue raisonné of Watteau’s military works

The works are drawn from a wide range of US and European institutions including the Frick (The Portal of Valenciennes), Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, National Galleries of Scotland, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in Madrid and York Art Gallery (The Line of March).

About the Author(s)

Aaron Wile is the Anne L. Poulet Curatorial Fellow, The Frick Collection, New York, 2014-2016. He is a PhD candidate at Harvard University, where he is writing a dissertation on painting in France at the end of Louis XIV’s reign.