Five actors and actresses – or perhaps just friends of the artist dressed up to look like actors – take up their positions in front of the curtain, as though about to take their leave of the audience. We see Pierrot (Watteau’s favourite figure), Harlequin’s accomplice Colombine, Harlequine, a guitar player, and an as yet unidentified character. Contrary to what is suggested by the title, not all the characters depicted in the picture come from the ranks of Italian commedia dell’arte. The scene takes place out of doors, as can be seen from the trees and, half-hidden amongst their foliage, the herm of a satyr.The recto is the original design for one of the few etchings created by the artist’s own hand, and in this respect is unique. Only three impressions have been proven to derive from this etching, in which the work’s subject is seen in inverted form.