X. Festin Champêtre
Entered October 2017
Oil on panel
46 x 53 cm
Versailles, sale, Palais des congrès, June 23, 1968, lot 29: “WATTEAU (dans le goût de) . . . FESTIN CHAMPETRE. Dans la campagne, une tableau est dressée, autour de laquelle se pressent des personages de la comédie italienne. Huile sur panneau. Haut.; 46 cm — Larg.; 53 cm. (Voir la reproduction planche V).”
It would have been more appropriate to have classified the painting as “dans le goût de Lancret,” since the composition is an adaptation of Nicolas Lancret’s Repas italienne. However, as its reversed direction shows, this picture is not based directly on Lancret’s painting but, rather, was executed after an engraving by Jacques Philippe Le Bas (1707-1783). Our painting also mirrors the size of the engraving, which is 41.4 x 60.5 cm, and does not correspond to the substantially larger size of Lancret’s painting, which is twice that in scale. Le Bas’ engraving was executed in 1738, establishing a terminus post quem for this copy.
Festin champêtre is also a simplification of Lancret’s fuller composition. It omits a number of characters, including the man pulling a woman on a swing and, at the opposite side, a guitarist.