As today is Watteau’s birthday, I thought it only fitting to feature one of his works on Le Peanut Gallery today.
The central figure in this piece represents Mezzetino, a stock character in Italian Commedia dell’Arte. His name translates to “a half measure of liquor”, and you can bet that this guy was definitely at least half empty when it came to his moral code. Though he can sing and dance quite well, he is a schemer and a bit of a scoundrel, especially when the bella donnas are concerned.
In one story, he attempts to mack on a lady by bragging how in six years of marriage, he and his wifey never, ever fought. Not once! Oh, except for that one time when she wouldn’t let him sneeze. But that was the last time they ever fought, mind you, because then he promptly murdered her. A happy marriage indeed.
When his tale of mariticide doesn’t get the lady’s heart a flutter, she points out that she is already married. “So am I,” responds the creepy Casanova, “but that’s nothing five sous of rat poison can’t fix!”
Charming, isn’t he?
Mezzetin, Antoine Watteau, 1718