Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721)
Studies of Foot Soldiers, a Drummer, and Two Cavaliers (verso),
6 5/16 × 7 11/16 in. (16 x 19.5 cm)
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh; Accepted by HM Government in Lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to The National Gallery of Scotland, 2010
This is one of Watteau’s earliest studies of soldiers. It is less technically sure than his later drawings, but his interest in the mundane aspects of military life is already evident. The marching soldiers face slightly different directions, each encapsulating an individual encounter between artist and model. None of the figures exactly matches those in any known painting.