Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fox and His Friend

These pieces from the mid 1740's are featured in the Met's outstanding small show " Watteau and Music ". Although it might be tempting to imagine a kooky absurdity as the basis for featuring this musically gifted animal, the facts are more revealing. The singer, Faustina Bordoni, was a recognizable and renowned mezzo of her day. Her spouse was an equally famous composer, whose name is legible ( though not in my photo) at the top of the sheet music which is being interpreted by the harpsichord-playing fox. Well enough known at the time for the porcelain-loving public must have been the fact that the singer was carrying on an extramarital affair with a man named Fuchs, which means fox.

This dancing couple also comes from the performance world, possibly representing players in Rameau's "Les Indes Galantes". I find the painting, and the color combinations, particularly the yellow on that dress, to be enchanting. These Meissen men, and women were living it up. Of course, then came revolution.

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