About this artwork

This is a very fine example of the 'fêtes galantes' perfected by Watteau. He included himself as the seated musician playing a musette. The central dancer may be the leading actress Charlotte Desmares, who was mistress of the Duc d'Orleans. Her male dancing partner is Nicolas Vleughels, a Flemish painter, who was Watteau's friend and landlord. The painting may contain a private meaning enjoyed by the two artists. The other figures are based on drawings Watteau made from his direct observations of contemporary society. The painting acquired its present title from an engraving made after it, published in 1732.

Jean-Antoine Watteau

Jean-Antoine Watteau