Artist Jean Antoine Watteau: “ about beautiful - with a smile, about cheerful - with bitterness, about sad - with a smile “?
In October, 1684, 325 years ago, in the town of Valansyen in the north of France Jean Antoine Watteau, future famous painter was born. And his father - the roofer, both mother, and brothers, and even master Zhersen giving to the boy the first lessons of drawing very much would be surprised, having learned that over time on one of central squares will put Watteau`s monument. The bronze artist with a palette and brushes in hands forever lodged in Valansyena who is glorified by his name.
The young man early left the hometown to look for happiness in Paris. Watteau did not strive for wellbeing, even recognition not too seduced it. He wanted to work only as considered it necessary, and full freedom. Watteau liked to write actors. On a scene of theaters and exhibition buffooneries life found sharpness, in gestures of comedians there is nothing superfluous, a performance - as if a life clot. The painter remained is far from policy, but unmistakably felt fragility, vagueness of time when so a lot of things not clearly and only the alarm and trouble are undoubted. The irony in his pictures - as if protection against concern, in them is more than grief, than fun.
There is the well-known picture “ Indifferent “ . The young man in iridescent, it is pale - a pearl suit and a scarlet raincoat, having stood in a graceful immovability, is going to begin ceremonious dance. Paints are soft, but in them solemnity of slightly sad holiday. At the first view of a picture and the carefree elegant dancer, and a thoughtful landscape seem gloomy. There is some haplessness in the graceful gentleman, some alarm in the calmed-down garden.
Contrast of a carefree plot with the grief hidden in paints and lines is main in a picture. “ In what writes Watteau there is no happy unity: he speaks about beautiful with a smile, about cheerful - with bitterness, about sad - with a smile “ - so contemporaries spoke about it.
The world of seductive beauties and gallant gentlemen that slowly walk between short-haired bushes, artificial falls, are turned in dance, conduct thoughtfully - ironic conversations, melancholically look at a decline, is carefree, but also alerted: there is neither confidence in tomorrow, nor open pleasure, nor a deep grief, nor is kind, nor is angry, only mirages of feelings, a masquerade of passions. And what suits - the thinnest what it is only possible to imagine shades: faintly - coral, golden, serovato - green, pepelno - lilac. What gardens, groves, parks, eternally light sky which is not knowing bad weather, distant gleams of avenues, a clear azure of ponds, yellowish marble of statues. It would seem, happiness has to overflow souls of characters of Watteau, but he allocates them with own doubt.
Watteau did not seek to understand the hidden springs of relentless historical changes, the approaching events. The artist just saw how this papilionaceous life is far from new culture which will begin to be called later the age of Enlightenment, from fruitful doubt, searches of social justice. He was not a fighter, but was a seer.
Interesting and it was slight for it to write actors. In theater seeming, created by art turned around in truth, brave speeches of heroes forced to reflect, in a new way to see the world. And theatrical conviviality is not illusive - it is a carnival where masks are more truthful than persons. These are “ Actors of the French comedy “ : the tired and excited faces of comedians, fantastic suits, the boy - the blackamoor, “ comic old man “ with a long nose. Here where happy consent with life.
So there is in Watteau`s creativity a thought of a role of the art highlighting the truth hidden intentionally or incidentally in the world. And same master ( “ Difficult " offer; ) one of the first noticed aspiration of the person to the nature which the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau will begin to sing and preach.
It would seem, Watteau always writes same. At first sight, his pictures are similar, his characters as if belong to one tribe, the irony, cheerfulness, suits, even pass color from a cloth to a cloth. And let actors same, a way are similar scenery and suits, but plays different. Peer - you will find in its canvases and the drama, only the artist is timid, reserved, is afraid of too strong feelings and hides behind a fancy dress of own imagination.
Even in early works when wrote tired soldiers against a landscape, the figures hunched from weight of their infinite transitions, it did not insist on too sad mood: were beautifully poured dim tone of uniforms, evening died away in dark foliage of the woods. The stare is necessary to see a sad wrong side “ Watteau`s countries “ about which he speaks as if in a low voice, hoping for keenness of the audience.
It is noticeable when the artist writes the person close up. Two such pictures use special popularity - it is “ Savoyar with a groundhog “ and “ Gilles “ . The boy from Savoy, for pennies the speaker before poor fierce city suburbs with a groundhog, is hungry also niches. And still not one compassion moves Watteau`s brush. It does not matter that his suit is poor. He is ready to smile over own gloomy fate, to smile to life - and not from excess of optimism, and just because did not stick to the person to show the grief.
Gilles is open for a sneer, his smile is ingenuous, but is gloomy. Its white loose overall shines, casting light-olive, silvery, pepelno - violet paints, creating feeling mysterious, unknown and to the hero of festival. Gilles longs, but the one who will see an image of the sad clown playing a ridiculous role will be mistaken. At this grief of Watteau it is inclined to sneer, his sympathy is deeply hidden: representing theater, he admires it, theatrical passions not a reason for the real experiences.
In 1717 Watteau wrote one of very few pictures calculated on official recognition. The way to it lay through Royal academy of Arts. To become the member of academy, Watteau wrote unusually big for him - nearly 2 m long - the picture “ Pilgrimage on the island to Kiefer “ . Its plot is treated differently. The main thing here - procession of loving couples which want to find happiness on the magic island of Kiefer. At the coast the gilded castle waits for them, trees dawn a transparent shadow. It seems that it is the picturesque story only about one loving couple. Or perhaps it is only illusion - so many different characters here.
Watteau had no contemporaries capable to become near him. Blossoming of the French painting came in the 18th century, after death of the master.
How were thin and difficult feelings of characters, experiences of the artist were immeasurably more difficult. In the color, comparisons of lines, spots it transferred by a time inexpressible. In a canvas “ Kapriznitsa “ contrast it is black - a lilac dress with gentle golden greens of a landscape causes feeling of grief though the scene does not bear in itself anything similar. And in the latest work - “ Sign of a bench of Zhersen “ - Watteau achieved unprecedented ironic and poetical depth in the image of the people admiring pictures.
It is life of human spirit in contact with art - what is rather realized only by masters of the 19th century Watteau who received from academy an insignificant rank “ masters of gallant festivals “ at the beginning of the XVIII century thought for a century forward.
The art it opened for people of an eye on their own complexity. Its canvases say that in happy hours you should not forget about grief because such is life which ambiguity he understood better than others since it is better than others felt inevitability of changes. It turned doubt into the salutary force of knowledge and showed the person alone with own reflections, having left us the pictures which are not allowing lazy rest to take control of soul, installing desire in everything to see undercover, main sense, so - to remain the person.