Jean-Antoine Watteau

French (1684 - 1721)
Jean-Antoine Watteau Fêtes Vénitiennes 1718 - 1719

Biography

Born 1684
Died 1721
Nationality French
Birth place Valenciennes
Death place Paris

Watteau, celebrated for his colourful and delicately sophisticated work, introduced a new type of subject into eighteenth century French painting: the fêtes galantes. These were scenes in which exquisitely dressed young people idle away time in dreamy, romantic, pastoral settings. They appear joyful but are often tinged with melancholy. Watteau was born in Valenciennes, formerly in Flanders but by then part of France. He moved to Paris to pursue his artistic education and initially worked as a scenery painter. Inspired by Rubens and Venetian painters his outstanding skills were soon recognised and he was admitted to the French Academy in 1712.