By Jean Antoine Watteau
During the early eighteenth century, the lute was replaced by the guitar in the artistic depiction of musical groups and other romantic scenes. The fashionable instrument appears in many of Watteau’s artwork showing garden parties or friendly duets.
In the painting, the main focus lies in the relationship of the guitar player in his brightly colored theatrical costume and the woman seated at his feet. The woman is holding a book in her hand, which I am guessing is where the love song is written inside. By noticing this, I can infer that the woman is the one singing, while the man is playing the music. The way they are both seated close to each other may mean that they have a very strong relationship. What confuses me is that they are singing a love song and the man’s eyes are placed on the book and the woman’s eyes are on the guitar instead of on each other. This makes me question if their relationship is actually strong or if they are singing the love song with no emotion.
When you look closer into to picture you see a statue of the face of a bearded philosopher above the man playing the guitar. This might mean that the couple chose to sing their love song at a significant spot. In the background of the picture, you see people engaged in their own lives and are paying no attention to the two main actors. This must mean that couples singing love songs in the middle of a garden was totally normal at the time. The two women on the right seem to be having a deep conversation, the woman next to them seems to be too busy in trying to make her baby fall asleep, and the couple in the back seems to be enjoying their stroll in the garden. I felt like the different earthy colors (browns and greens) showed a sense of harmony that made you look at the picture a feel like you’re experiencing it because of how real it looks.