A pervasive feature in ornament is symmetry: formal correspondences arranged around an axis. Antoine Watteau’s working drawing exhibits little agreement between left and right—but it was not meant to be read as a whole. The engraver Gabriel Huquier used the sheet to make two prints: one illustrating the Temple of Diana, featuring the trellis with male herms seen at left, and the other devoted to the Temple of Neptune, using the masonry arch on the right. If one holds the sheet against a mirror along its vertical axis, each of Watteau’s half-designs is completed by its corresponding mirror image.
Antoine Watteau, Arabesque Design, ca. 1715–16. Red chalk. Purchased on the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Fund 1978, 1980.9.