Costumed Dancers Performing in a Garden Tavern

Costumed Dancers Performing in a Garden Tavern

1756

Augustin de Saint-Aubin

(French, 1736-1807)

Brush and brown and gray wash, with gouache, watercolor, and traces of graphite

Support: Cream(3) laid paper, laid down on cream(1) wove paper

Sheet: 19.8 x 31.3 cm (7 13/16 x 12 5/16 in.); Secondary Support: 19.8 x 31.3 cm (7 13/16 x 12 5/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1966.124

Fun Fact

Gabriel de Saint-Aubin reused the female dancer in another drawing from 1760.

Description

Gabriel de Saint-Aubin was known for his rapidly executed, sketchy style, often used to depict performances and social scenes. The exaggerated lifted legs of the dancers seen here imply a comic, theatrical style; no social dance during the 18th century would have permitted such pronounced gestures, especially for a woman. Both dancers wear jackets with irregular hemlines decorated with round bells similar to those found on jesters’ costumes. The lanterns and swags of flowers strung from trees and the small orchestra playing on the right suggest a guinguette, or outdoor tavern with a pleasure garden.

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