Standing Soldier with a Pipe

sketch of a standing soldier with a pipe

Jean-Baptiste Joseph Pater (1695–1736)
Standing Soldier with a Pipe, ca. 1725–30
Red chalk
7 3/8 × 3 5/8 in. (18.7 × 9.2 cm)
Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris

Pater was one of Watteau’s most important followers and, like his master, produced a number of military scenes in addition to fêtes galantes. This study of a soldier, cut from a larger sheet and preparatory for the painting Troops at Rest (Metropolitan Museum of Art), lacks the sense of corporeality that animates Watteau’s drawings but has its own elastic energy. The figure’s comic mien, though infused with a decidedly eighteenth-century French elegance, owes more to the example of bawdy seventeenth century Dutch guardroom scenes than to Watteau’s psychologically acute approach.

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