Antoine Watteau


Watteau’s drawing, made around 1718, is one of eight intimate studies of a female model captured in a variety of informal poses. Not intended as preparatory for any painting, these drawings were made in private rented rooms where Watteau and his friends took pleasure in “posing the model, painting and drawing.” As a fully formed, mature artist, Watteau continued to draw from the live model, even if his nude studies—so immediate and seemingly natural to modern eyes—were found wanting by academic standards.

Antoine Watteau
French; 1684–1721
Young Woman Wearing a Chemise, ca. 1718
Black, red, and white chalk


Antoine Watteau's Young Woman Wearing a Chemise done in 1718 is a drawing in three crayons or three chalks that captures the informality and eroticism of a young female model posed on a chaise longue or sofa. This was one of several drawings that Watteau made with friends of his in an informal setting where they hired a studio and a model for the purposes of drawing.