The Flame

painting by the famous artist Antoine Watteau

Oh what a fun painting! A man and his wife are confronted by an old flame in this wonderful oil on metal painting by Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). I love how the man is looking away as if pretending she’s not standing right in front of him and the pointed stares between the old love and his new one.

The former paramour is shown standing in front of the couple and we can see her entire dress and elaborate hat. She is certainly portrayed as the more elegant and forceful of the two women. The wife is sitting in the shadow of her husband and much of her is hidden by him and his red cape. A fourth person is in the painting who could be a child of the couple or a young servant.