Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Things to See: Watteau - The Drawings at the Royal Academy of Arts

If you're going to be out and about in London in the next week or so, you'll be just in time to catch the Royal Academy of Arts' special exhibition of the drawings of eighteenth century Rococo artist, Jean-Antoine Watteau. Largely known for his painterly skill, Watteau also worked in graphite and chalk on paper, sometimes using a starkly limited colour pallette of black, red and white crayon to create drawings of incredible depth and tone. He referred to these sketches when painting, having them bound into volumes as a constant source of reference and inspiration.

My own first experience of the Royal Academy was on a school excursion, aged 15, and it's been a favourite stop-off ever since, both for contemporary and retrospective exhibitions in the beautiful, light-filled setting of Burlington House. 

Watteau: The Drawings runs until Sunday 5th June. Ticket and booking information can be found here.

All images courtesy of the Royal Academy of Arts.


  1. I just adore Watteau's drawings. There was an exhibition a few years back at the Frick and of course I had to buy the book. The Royal Academy puts on some lovely exhibitions. Wish I was there....

  2. Thanks for reminding me, I was going to go and see them, but have simply not got round to it yet...

    Thanks for your comments, especially the one about "sincere escapism", I know what you mean and I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking like that ;-) xo

  3. Hello Ingrid - Me too. I get a better appreciation of the actual mechanics and thought processes behind his work when looking at the drawings.

    Carole - Hope you get there to catch the show before it goes! Thanks for your comments, too, and for your encouragement. Hope you have a lovely week. x

  4. Watteau is one of my favorite artists. When I lived in Paris, I had a pass to the Louvre, and I would walk in often just to see the Watteaus. I love the fêtes galantes imagery. This sounds like a marvelous exhibition I would love seeing.

  5. Hello and thanks for your lovely comment. How lucky to live in Paris and be able to wander to the Louvre. Like you, I love Watteau's fêtes galantes, but have a real soft spot for the simplicity of these gorgeous pastel images.