OIL PAINTING: Pierrot
The late paintings shows Watteau moving beyond the enchanted mythology of Cythera - not into deeper dreams but closer to disenchanted reality. After a few quite small paintings it was on a large scale that he summed up the sense of isolation and odd man out, in the Pierrot. Though this is no self-portrait, the sense of self identification is very strong and adds to the poignant effect. The group of laughing actors in the background, with a clown tugged along Silenus-like on a donkey, is probably inspired by an engraving of Gillot's; but what had been his main subject is deliberately reduced by Watteau to a frieze of busts that do not interfere with the tall white figure of Pierrot, perfectly still, posed frontally against the empty sky.