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Philip Conisbee, Aaron Wile, “Antoine Watteau/The Italian Comedians/probably 1720,” French Paintings of the Fifteenth through Eighteenth Centuries, NGA Online Editions, (accessed June 19, 2024).

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Antoine Watteau’s The Italian Comedians presents fifteen figures arranged on stone steps and dressed in costumes typical of the commedia dell'arte theater. The Italian comedians were extremely popular performers whose fame rested on the audience’s recognition of stock characters. Their plays were often greatly exaggerated by pantomime, gesture, and innuendo. Pierrot, dressed in shimmering white satin, stands in the center of the composition. Pierrot was a naive clown whose declarations of love were rejected by Flaminia, the heroine, placed to his left. Other well–known characters are Scaramouche, dressed in yellow and black, whose sweeping arm gesture presents Pierrot to the audience; on the left are Mezzetin, another clown who flirts with Sylvia, the ingénue, and Harlequin, the adventurer, shown with a black face in his red and green diamond–cut costume.

The garland of flowers in the foreground steps suggests the actors are taking a bow after their performance; however the members united here were probably Watteau’s own invention, and connected to a specific play or troupe. This tension between illusion and reality is typical of Watteau and influenced a generation of his followers to explore the relationships between painting and theater.

Object Data


oil on canvas


overall: 63.8 × 76.2 cm (25 1/8 × 30 in.)

framed: 94.62 × 107 × 13.65 cm (37 1/4 × 42 1/8 × 5 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Artists / Makers

Antoine Watteau (artist) French, 1684 - 1721

Image Use

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Detail Information


Numerous paintings with figures in theatrical costume attest to Jean Antoine Watteau’s interest in the theater. In The Italian Comedians, however — as in others of his works in this genre — the identity of some of the characters remains uncertain or equivocal because he sometimes reused the same model for different figures and modified standard costumes according to his whim. Pierre Rosenberg has drawn attention to the announcement in the Mercure de France of the 1733 print after The Italian Comedians [fig. 1] by Bernard Baron (1696 – 1762): “These are almost all portraits of men skilled in their art, whom Watteau painted in the different clothing of the actors of the Italian Theatre.”[1] It would seem, then, that the painting does not record an actual performance; and we lack evidence as to who these individuals might actually be. It was Baron’s print (included in the Recueil Jullienne, the compendium of prints after Watteau’s work) that gave The Italian Comedians its title.

The scene appears to represent a curtain call of the Comédie Italienne, the French version of the commedia dell’arte, which presented stock characters in predictably humorous plots. A red curtain has been drawn aside from a stage where fifteen figures stand together. At the center is Pierrot, standing resplendent in a white costume and gazing out with an ambiguous expression. He is positioned directly in front of a doorway in the stone wall forming the back of the stage; visible just beyond are trees and sky. The figure raising the curtain at the extreme right has been tentatively identified as Scapin;[2] the hunched old man at right as the Doctor (or possibly Pantaloon);[3] and the figure gesturing to Pierrot as Brighella (or perhaps Scaramouche).[4] The guitarist is unidentified, but behind him may be Mezzetin, who flirts with an unidentified character (perhaps Sylvia).[5] The tall woman standing just to the right of Pierrot might be Flaminia, Sylvia, or perhaps “not . . . any particular stock character;”[6] beside her are an unidentified man and woman. Probably the only figures whose identities are unanimously agreed upon are Harlequin, recognizable by his mask and diamond-patterned costume, and of course the centrally placed Pierrot.

Pierrot was a fixture in the performances of the Comédie Italienne from the early 1680s until 1697, when the company offended Louis XIV with a play titled La Fausse Prude, thought to be a satire of Madame de Maintenon. The king banished the players from France, an event that Watteau memorialized (though he did not witness it, arriving in Paris three years after the fact) in a lost work, The Departure of the Italian Comedians in 1697 [fig. 2].[7] Here, Pierrot in his baggy white costume is seen in supplication. After the king’s death the climate was right for reviving the troupe, which by then was seen as an unfortunate casualty of Madame de Maintenon’s excessive control at Versailles. The regent Philippe d’Orléans arranged with the Prince of Parma, Antonio Farnese, for the return of the comedians in 1716; they performed at the Palais-Royal until the reopening of their old theatre at the Hôtel de Bourgogne.[8] The troupe that was invited back after the nineteen-year hiatus, however, “had nothing in common with the old Comédie-Italienne,” according to François Moureau.[9]

On the assumption that The Italian Comedians was an early misnomer that had given rise to a long but erroneous interpretive tradition, Albert Pomme de Mirimonde set forth the hypothesis that the painting might represent a rival company, the Opéra-Comique. Established under that name in 1715, the Opéra-Comique was an itinerant and less formal company that had worked the popular theaters of the fairs around Paris, notably the Foire Saint-Laurent and the Foire Saint-Germain.[10] It seems that some of these characters, notably Pierrot, appeared with some transmutability in the Comédie Italienne, the Opéra-Comique, and other itinerant groups of players who constituted the various fair theaters. Watteau favored the Opéra-Comique over the more official French and Italian comedians. However, under pressure from the French and Italian factions, the regent forced the Opéra-Comique to disband in 1719; some players went to London, where Watteau was then staying. Under this scenario, Watteau painted the work as a final tribute to a moribund troupe, just as Pierrot is shown giving the last farewell. Watteau could not know that the ban was only temporary and that his death would precede the Opéra-Comique’s triumphal reinstatement by a mere three days.[11] Mirimonde suggests that his interpretation avoids two major pitfalls of the more traditional one: Why would Watteau have chosen to celebrate the Italian comedians at a time when members of his preferred Opéra-Comique were visiting, and if he did so, why would he have put at the center of the composition Pierrot, who was the very personification of the Opéra-Comique? Despite their apparently related titles, the painting is not a pendant to The French Comedians of 1720 – 1721 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art), which has often been read as a satire of their theater’s more pompous airs.[12] In any case, the dimensions and the relative scale of the figures in these two paintings are different.[13]

Dora Panofsky proposed that Watteau invests Pierrot “with a prominence and significance not justified by his actual importance on the stage” for the purpose of his “isolation and glorification.”[14] Indeed, in The Italian Comedians he stands both apart from and above the rest, presiding with apparent irony. Watteau’s strategy of awarding Pierrot an elevated status while underscoring his melancholy detachment has encouraged speculation about the artist’s own identification with this minor character.[15] Panofsky ventured to link Watteau’s The Italian Comedians with several of Rembrandt’s religious etchings that use similar figural groupings.[16] But her bold conclusion — that Scaramouche / Brighella’s gesture is an intentional reference to that of Pilate and that the pure, white-clad Pierrot with a halo-like glow around his head is in turn a secular version of Christ presented to the people — has not found general acceptance.[17] Pierrot’s costume matches that of his double, the so-called “Gilles” (but now generally recognized as Pierrot)[18] in the famous painting of that same name in the Musée du Louvre. The identity and significance of the Pierrot figure in these paintings is doubtless the key to their true meaning, but so far it remains elusive.

Eighteenth-century sources refer to The Italian Comedians as one of two works dating from Watteau’s yearlong stay in London shortly before his death. Suffering from tuberculosis, he had come to the city in 1719 to consult Dr. Richard Mead, the celebrated physician, art collector, and Francophile. One of the works that Watteau painted for Dr. Mead was Peaceful Love [fig. 3]; the other was “A company of Italian Comedians by the same [artist] and of the same size. Watteau being in England and not in the best of health or financial circumstances, Dr. Mead likely relieved him in both and employed him in painting these two pictures, which are engraved by Baron.”[19] The announcement for Baron’s engraving indicated that the painting on which it was based was “in the cabinet of Mr. Mead, physician to the king of Great Britain. He commissioned it from Watteau during the latter’s sojourn in London.”[20] Robin Simons points out that, during the period, at least two French commedia dell’arte troupes were performing in London: the companies of Jean-Baptist Grimberghs and of Francisque Moylin. Watteau’s scene, therefore, may depict neither the Comédie Italienne nor the Opéra Comique at all, but rather a performance that the artist saw in London.[21]

Craig Hanson has proposed that The Italian Comedians alludes to a pamphlet war in London in 1718 and 1719 between Mead and his supporters and Dr. John Woodward concerning in particular their respective treatments for smallpox.[22] In this reading, the hunched and wizened Doctor at the right of the composition stands in for Woodward, whose quackish notions have been exposed by the character of Pierrot and are ridiculed in a dialogue between Scaramouche and Harlequin in a satirical stage production. Ingenious as this reading may be, we are not persuaded that the evidence is sufficient to identify Scaramouche, Harlequin, and Pierrot (a surrogate for Mead?) as representing the triumphant triumvirate of the Mead camp versus the embittered Doctor “Woodward,” cringing at stage left. Watteau’s The Italian Comedians still keeps its secret.

Did Watteau paint the National Gallery’s picture?[23] We believe he did, but this authorship has been questioned. For example, Colin Eisler speculated that it might be a work completed by the artist Philippe Mercier or else “an excellent, very early copy.”[24] Donald Posner wrote categorically, “The original painting has unfortunately disappeared, but a fine old copy in the National Gallery in Washington is some compensation for the loss.”[25] Baron’s engraving is faithful in composition, although in places the print is worked out in more detail, as Eisler has noted.[26] In many respects it is more generously proportioned: from the roundness of the jester / puppeteer’s head and features to the thickness of the Doctor’s walking stick or the guitarist’s fingers. Details such as hands are more exactly rendered in the print, while the sleeve of Harlequin’s raised arm has a scintillating, crinkled texture somewhat lacking in the painting. The roses in the print appear more luxuriant. Other differences in the print are the vertical foliage in Flaminia’s bodice and the straight-falling bangs of the child in the corner. But these differences may be ascribed to the engraver’s personal style and / or to later losses to the original painting. The dimensions noted by Baron are slightly larger than the present painting, but the canvas may have been trimmed.[27]

The painting may have been in better condition when Gustav Friedrich Waagen described it in 1857 as “of such vivacity in the heads, clearness of colouring, and carefulness of execution, that I do not hesitate to pronounce it one of the most remarkable works of the master I know.”[28] The work we see today is somewhat marred by losses, abrasion, and flattened impasto, perhaps due to previous restorations. Once the discolored varnish and overpaint were removed in 1984, an extensive bright red underdrawing typical of Watteau emerged, applied with a brush. Moreover, the original technique was consistent with Watteau’s reputation as a technically sloppy artist: brush hairs were found in the paint, and it appeared that some colors had run together on his disorderly palette (see [fig. 4], the stripped-down canvas before inpainting).[29]

Watteau must have worked out this dense composition with some care: four surviving drawings can be related to the disposition of the different characters, culminating in [fig. 5] (although it is not yet a final version), where the backdrop suggests an outdoor urban setting.[30] At least nine studies exist, which Watteau employed for the poses or details of individual figures: for the guitarist;[31] Harlequin;[32] the young actress at left;[33] her beau Mezzetin [fig. 6];[34] the young man raising the curtain [fig. 7];[35] the old doctor;[36] the actress standing next to Pierrot;[37] the child at lower left;[38] and Brighella.[39] It remains an open question how far any of these drawings was made with The Italian Comedians in mind, or whether Watteau combined them into the painting from his large repertoire of existing graphic observations.


This text was previously published in Philip Conisbee et al., French Paintings of the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth Century, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue (Washington, DC, 2009), 472–479.

Original entry by Philip Conisbee. Revised by Aaron Wile to clarify the identification of several figures.

Aaron Wile,  Philip Conisbee

May 13, 2022


Possibly commissioned by Dr. Richard Mead [1673-1754], London; (his estate sale, Langford, London, 20-22 March 1754, 3rd day, no. 43, paired with no. 42, A Pastoral Conversation); Alderman William Beckford [1709-1770], London and Fonthill, Wiltshire, or his brother, Richard Beckford [d. 1756], London.[1] Roger Harenc [d. 1763], London;[2] (his estate sale, Langford, London, 1-3 March 1764, 3rd day, no. 52, a pair with A Musical Conversation [each day's lots begin with no. 1]); Augustus Henry, 3rd duke of Grafton [1735-1811], Euston Hall and London. acquired between 1851 and 1856 by Thomas Baring [1799-1873];[3] by inheritance to his nephew, Thomas George Baring, 1st earl of Northbrook [1826-1904], London; (Asher Wertheimer, London); purchased June 1888 by (Thos. Agnew and Sons, Ltd., London); sold the same month to Sir Edward Cecil Guinness [later 1st earl of Iveagh, 1847-1927], Dublin, London, Cowes, and Elveden Hall, Suffolk;[4] by inheritance to his third son, Walter Edward Guinness, 1st baron Moyne [1880-1944], London; purchased 18 February 1930 by (Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Paris, New York, and London).[5] Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza [1875-1947], Schloss Rohoncz, Rechnitz, Hungary, and Amsterdam, by July 1930.[6] (Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Paris, New York, and London), by December 1936; purchased 23 November 1942 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[7] gift 1946 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters. Winter Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1871, no. 176, as Pierrot: a group.
Selection of Works by French and English Painters of the Eighteenth Century, Art Gallery of the Corporation of London, 1902, no. 40.
Loan for display with permanent collection, Alte Pinakothek, Munich, 1930-1931.
Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz, Neue Pinakothek, Munich, 1930, no. 348.
Exhibition of French Art 1200-1900, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1932, no. 177, repro.
Recent Additions to the Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1946, no. 774.
Picasso: The Saltimbanques, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980, no. 1, fig. 1.
Watteau 1684-1721, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris; Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin, West Germany, 1984-1985, no. 71.
From El Greco to Cézanne: Masterpieces of European Painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, National Gallery of Greece, Athens, 1992-1993, no. 26, repro.
A Gift to America: Masterpieces of European Painting from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Seattle Art Museum; Calif. Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 1994-1995, no. 36.
The Great Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown, Musée du Grand Palais, Paris; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 2004, no. 1, repro.
Rococo Rivals and Revivals, Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, 2018-2019, no catalogue.

Technical Summary

The original support is a fine, somewhat tightly woven, plain-weave fabric. Its tacking margins have been cropped, and the painting has been lined. The current stretcher is slightly larger than the original fabric, extending the painting by 0.3 cm on all four sides. Moderately pronounced cusping is present along the top and bottom edges of the fabric but not along the vertical edges. The yellowish, off-white ground is a smooth layer of medium thickness. Over the ground is a very fluid, finely brushed red underdrawing, which outlines the forms and indicates the major drapery folds and the facial features. In some areas the artist may have deliberately left this underdrawing visible; in other areas the overlying paint appears to have “pearled up” over it, as a lean layer over a fatter layer; in still other areas, abrasion has made the underdrawing visible. There are a few minor contour changes from the underdrawing to the painted design, in all cases the painted version being narrower or smaller than the drawn version. The most notable changes are in the upper edge of Pierrot’s hat and the bent arm of Harlequin.

The paint was applied fluidly with low impasto in the highlights. The yellowish ground serves as a warm middle tone, with lights scumbled and built up opaquely and darks, in many cases, glazed thinly over it. Glazes are used extensively. Thin scumbles of gray over the yellowish ground often become opalescent, serving as a transition between white and flesh-colored forms. Warm, vermilion-toned strokes are often used to highlight contours in the hands and faces. Characteristic of Watteau, there are brush hairs and lumps of different colored paint in the original paint layers.

The painting is in good condition, but the impasto has been flattened, and a fine fabric texture pattern has been imprinted into the upper paint layers, most likely during a past lining procedure. There are three tears in the fabric; a 7.5 cm horizontal one in the top right corner, a 2.5 cm vertical tear in the hip of the crouching jester at the bottom left, and a 12.7 cm irregularly shaped one through the proper right sleeve of the central figure. The paint layer suffers from moderate abrasion in the red drapery and the gray of the steps below the Fool at left; below Dr. Baloardo at right; in Pierrot’s trousers; and in the thinly applied transition tones between the contours of figures and the background. There are scattered minor losses in the paint and ground layers, and a narrow, 16 cm-long, vertical loss extends down from the foliage to the left of Pierrot’s proper right shoulder to his proper right hand. Characteristic traction crackle is present in the thin dark browns of the shadows and in Pierrot’s hat. The painting was treated in 1984, when a discolored varnish was removed, losses were inpainted, and a clear varnish was applied. Prior to that, it had been relined and restored by Stephen Pichetto in 1943.[1] Neither the varnish nor the inpainting applied in 1984 has discolored.


Mercure de France (March 1733): 554.
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of more than Forty Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Mss., &c.&c., visited in 1854 and 1856, ..., forming a supplemental volume to the "Treasures of Art in Great Britain." London, 1857: 4: 96-97.
Goncourt, Edmond de. Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, dessiné et gravé d'Antoine Watteau. Paris, 1875: 66, 67, no. 68.
Walpole, Horace. Anecdotes of Painting in England... [1762-1771]. 4 vols. Rev. ed. London, 1876: 2:295.
Staley, John Edgcumbe. Watteau and His School. London, 1902: 68, 147.
Vertue, Goerge. "The Note Books of George Vertue Relating to Artists and Collections in England." Walpole Society 22 (1933-1934): 23.
Wildenstein, Georges. "L'Exposition de l'art français a Londres: Le XVIIIe siècle." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6th ser., 7 (1932): repro.
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. Masterpieces of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1944: 110, color repro. and cover.
Frankfurter, Alfred. "French Masterpieces for the National Gallery." Art News 42, no. 10 (August 1944): 10, 24, repro.
Frankfurter, Alfred M. The Kress Collection in the National Gallery. New York, 1944: 78, no. 73, color repro.
"Kress Makes Important Donation of French Painting to the Nation." Art Digest 18, no. 19 (1 August 1944): 5, repro.
"One of the Greatest Donations of XVIIIth Century French Painting Ever Received by a Museum - The Kress Collection." Illustrated London News 115, no. 2992 (26 August 1944): 249, repro.
"The Almanac: French Paintings Given to the National Gallery." The Magazine Antiques 46, no. 5 (November 1944): 288.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1945 (reprinted 1947, 1949): 158, repro.
Favorite Paintings from the National Gallery of Art Washington, D.C.. New York, 1946: 51-54, color repro.
Wildenstein and Company. French XVIII Century Paintings. New York, 1948: 4.
Adhémar, Hélène and René Huyghe. Watteau, sa vie, son oeuvre. Paris, 1950:231, no. 211, repro. pl. 146.
Panofsky, Dora. "Gilles or Pierrot? Iconographic Notes on Watteau." Gazette des Beaux-Arts ser. 6, 39 (May 1952): 333-340, repro. fig. 9.
Einstein, Lewis. "Looking at French Eighteenth Century Pictures in Washington." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 6th ser., 47, no. 1048-1049 (May-June 1956): 217, repro.. fig. 3, 218, 220-221.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 46, repro.
Cooke, Hereward Lester. French Paintings of the 16th-18th Centuries in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1959 (Booklet Number Four in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.): 26, color repro.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 350, repro.
Mirimonde, Albert Pomme de. "Les sujets musicaux chez Antoine Watteau." Gazette des Beaux-Arts ser. 6, 58 (November 1961): 272-276, 283, fig. 27.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 208, repro.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 139.
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:302, color repro.
Brookner, Anita. Watteau. Feltham, 1967: 8, 17, 18, 23, 40, repro. pl. 46.
Gandolfo, Giampaolo et al. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Great Museums of the World. New York, 1968: 68-69, color repro.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 126, repro.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 374, repro.
Eisler, Colin. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian. Oxford, 1977: 300-306, figs. 267-269.
Pope-Hennessy, John. "Completing the Account." Review of Colin Eisler, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, London 1977. Times Literary Supplement no. 3927 (17 June 1977).
Raines, Robert. "Watteau and 'Watteaus' in England before 1760." Gazette des Beaux-Artsser. 6, no 51 (February 1977): 57, 62, no. 53.
Chan, Victor. "Watteau's 'Les Comédians Italiens' Once More." Revue d'art canadien/Canadian Art Review 5, no. 2 (1978-1979): 107-112.
King, Marian. Adventures in Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1978: 66, pl. 38.
Bryson, Norman. Word and Image: French Painting of the Ancien Regime. Cambridge, 1981: 77-79, repro. fig. 28.
Sutton, Denys. "Aspects of British Collecting Part 1:IV : The Age of Robert Walpole." Apollo 114, no. 237 (November 1981): 329-330, 338 n. 9, repro. fig. 6.
Tomlinson, Robert. La fête gallante: Watteau et Marivaux. Geneva, 1981: 12 n. 18, repro. fig. 3b.
Eighteenth-Century Drawings from the Collection of Mrs. Gertrude Laughlin Chanler. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1982: 60-61, repro. fig. 20.
Rosenberg, Pierre and Ettore Camesasca Tout l'oeuvre peint de Watteau. Paris, 1982: 121, no. 203, repro.
Posner, Donald. Another Look at Watteau's Gilles. Apollo 117 (February 1983): 97-99, repro. fig. 2, as After Watteau.
Posner, Donald. Antoine Watteau. Ithaca, 1984: 120, 263-269, 291 n 62-64, repro. fig. 192, as After Watteau.
Roland Michel, Marianne. Watteau. Un artiste au XVIIIe siècle. Paris and London, 1984: 64, 109, 177, repro. pl. 11.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 330, no. 438, color repro.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 434, repro.
Grasselli, Margaret Morgan. "The Drawings of Antoine Watteau: stylistic development and problems of chronology." 3 vols. Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, 1987: 2:390-395; 542-545, no. 289-293; 3:repro. fig. 468.
Roland Michel, Marianne. "Watteau et les 'Figures de différents caractères'" in Antoine Watteau (1684 - 1721) The Painter, His Age, and His Legend. Paris, 1987: 40, 273, repro. 67
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 166, repro.
Vidal, Mary. Watteau's Painted Conversations: Art, Literature, and Talk in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century France. New Haven and London, 1992: 41, 134, 146-147, repro. pl. 144.
Banu, Georges. Le Rideau ou la fêlure du monde, Paris, 1997, p. 137, repro.
Shefer, Elaine. "Masks/Personae." In Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art, edited by Helene E. Roberts. 2 vols. Chicago, 1998: 2:581.
Heck, Thomas F. Picturing Performance: The Iconography of the Performing Arts in Concept and Practice. Rochester, 1999: 2-5, repro. fig I.
Jarrassé, Dominique. 18th-Century French Painting. Paris, 1999: 60, repro.
Börsch-Supan, Helmut. Antoine Watteau 1684-1721. Trans. Anthea Bell. Cologne, 2000: 53-54, 62, 52, repro., as by Unknown Copyist after Watteau.
Bryant, Julius. Kenwood: Paintings in the Iveagh Bequest. New Haven and London, 2003: 15, 16 fig. 21, 416.
Hanson, Craig. "Dr. Richard Mead and Watteau's 'Comédiens italiens'." Apollo CXLV, no. 1201 (April 2003): 265+, repro.
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 232-233, 262-263, no. 214, color repro.
Baillio, Joseph, et al. The Arts of France from François Ier to Napoléon Ier. A Centennial Celebration of Wildenstein's Presence in New York. Exh. cat. Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York, 2005: 78 (not in the exhibition).
Conisbee, Philip, et al. French Paintings of the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 2009: no. 99, 472-479, color repro.
Grasselli, Margaret Morgan. Renaissance to Revolution: French Drawings from the National Gallery of Art, 1500-1800. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2009: 102, repro. fig. 1.
Sund, Judy. “Why So Sad? Watteau’s Pierrots.” Art Bulletin 98, no. 3 (September 2016): 322-323, 325, color fig. 4, 341 n. 16.

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