In a wooded landscape a woman sits with a spindle. At her feet a shepherd, holdinga flute in his hands, is trying to look up her skirt. The painting is laden with sexual references. The flute is a phallic symbol and we are meant to deduce that the spinner would like to respond to these overtures, making two threads into one, a clear hint. Work by French painters from the first half of the 18th century was rather frivolous, but compared to the florid and excessively ornamental Rococo style of his French colleagues, Watteau is eminently restrained. Perhaps this modesty had Dutch origins. Watteau, like many other French artists at that time was impressed by Dutch 17th-century painting. French artists visited the Netherlands to study masterpieces and sometimes copied them. This painting is an example of this trend, because Watteau borrowed the scene from an etching by Rembrandt. Watteau is one of the most important early 18th-century artists. With his soft tones, richly-applied impasto, and often intriguing images, he created a style entirely his own.


  • Title: Evening Landscape with Spinner
  • Date Created: 1713 - 1717
  • Theme: Landscape
  • Physical Dimensions: w660 x h550 cm (Without frame)
  • Painter: Jean Antoine Watteau
  • Original Title: L'indiscret
  • More Info: Link - Wikipedia on Fête Galante - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen - http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • Artist Information: Jean-Antoine Watteau was a French rococo painter. He received lessons from Gillot - between 1704 and 1705 - and from Claude Audran, between 1707 and 1708. Audran was curator of the art collection in the Palace of Luxembourg. A series of paintings by Rubens showing events from the life of Maria de Medici had a great influence on the work of Watteau. He made use of the drawings he made of this series many times. Watteau was the first painter who produced the so-called Fêtes Galantes. The works show idyllic scenes of groups of gentry. Often his works are based on scenes from theatrical pieces of the French and Italian Commedia dell'Arte.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Acquired with the collection of: D.G. van Beuningen 1958, http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • External Link: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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