Standing Male Figure, ca. 1718/19

Watteau was inclined to use chalk for his studies and drawings, a medium which allows both clear lines and finely gradated shadings – as this drawing demonstrates superbly.

The “Standing Male Figure” was drawn from life. Watteau needed it for his oil painting “The Delights of Life” (Wallace Collection, London). There, the man is leaning on the back of a chair and listening to music. To a large extent, the artist carried out his preparatory studies of the clothing, posture, and attitude of attentive listening in this drawing. Especially the interest in the facial expression leads us to surmise that this study of a pose is also a portrait. The subject is probably Watteau’s friend Nicolas Bleughels, a painter who would have been about fifty years old at the time, and with whom Watteau shared the same address in Paris.

Photo: Städel Museum – U. Edelmann – ARTOTHEK

Lead pencil and red chalk
291 × 180 mm
Inv. No. 1040

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