Jean-Antoine Watteau
French, 1684-1721
Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, J. Paul Getty Museum, Musée du Louvre
Selected exhibitions
Rubens and His Legacy: From Van Dyck to Cézanne,
Royal Academy of Arts
Rembrandt – Titian – Bellotto: Spirit and Splendour of the Dresden Picture Gallery,
Belvedere Museum
Old Master Drawings,
Christie's Old Masters

Characterized by paintings that depict sumptuously dressed aristocrats in nature settings, Antoine Watteau’s distinct style forged the creation of an entirely new genre of paintings termed fête galante. These works are admired for the subtlety of expression in the characters’ faces and gestures, as well as the simultaneous inclusion of both contemporary dress and costume attire, complicating notions of time and place. Though Watteau is often associated with the cheerful subject matter and ornamental concerns of Rococo, it is the innovative combination of reality and artifice that makes Watteau’s work so remarkable.

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