jean-antoine watteau

Name : jean-antoine watteau

Born : 1684

Died : 1721

Art Style & Movement : Rococo

Main Field/s :

Region/Nationality : French

Artist ID : 7999

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest

Reference :

Jean-Antoine Watteau (UK/ˈwɒt/US/wɒˈt/,[2][3] French: [ʒɑ̃ ɑ̃twan vato]; baptised October 10, 1684 – died July 18, 1721)[4] was a French painter and draughtsman whose brief career spurred the revival of interest in colour and movement, as seen in the tradition of Correggio and Rubens. He revitalized the waning Baroque style, shifting it to the less severe, more naturalistic, less formally classical, Rococo. Watteau is credited with inventing the genre of fêtes galantes, scenes of bucolic and idyllic charm, suffused with a theatrical air. Some of his best known subjects were drawn from the world of Italian comedy and ballet.

In 1709, Watteau tried to obtain a one-year stay in Rome by winning the Prix de Rome from the Academy, but managed only to get awarded with the second prize.[25] In 1712 he tried again and was persuaded by Charles de La Fosse that he had nothing to learn from going to Rome; thanks to Fosse he was accepted as an associate member of the Academy in 1712 and a full member in 1717.[20][26] He took those five years to deliver the required “reception piece“, but it was one of his masterpieces: the Pilgrimage to Cythera, also called the Embarkation for Cythera.[27]

Watteau then went to live with the collector Pierre Crozat, who eventually on his death in 1740 left around 400 paintings and 19,000 drawings by the masters. Thus Watteau was able to spend even more time becoming familiar with the works of Rubens and the Venetian masters.[28] He lacked aristocratic patrons; his buyers were bourgeois such as bankers and dealers. Among his most famous paintings, beside the two versions of the Pilgrimage to Cythera, one in the Louvre, the other in the Schloss CharlottenburgBerlin, are Pierrot (long identified as “Gilles”), Fêtes venitiennesLove in the Italian TheaterLove in the French Theater“Voulez-vous triompher des belles?” and Mezzetin. The subject of his hallmark painting, Pierrot (Gilles), is an actor in a white satin costume who stands isolated from his four companions, staring ahead with an enigmatic expression on his face.[29]

Watteau’s final masterpiece, the Shop-sign of Gersaint, exits the pastoral forest locale for a mundane urban set of encounters. Painted at Watteau’s own insistence, “in eight days, working only in the mornings … in order to warm up his fingers”,[30] this sign for the shop in Paris of the paintings dealer Edme François Gersaint is effectively the final curtain of Watteau’s theatre. It has been compared with Las Meninas as a meditation on art and illusion.[30] The scene is an art gallery where the façade has magically vanished, and the gallery and street in the canvas are fused into one contiguous drama.[31]

Watteau alarmed his friends by a carelessness about his future and financial security, as if foreseeing he would not live for long. In fact he had been sickly and physically fragile since childhood. In 1720, he travelled to London, England, to consult Dr. Richard Mead, one of the most fashionable physicians of his time and an admirer of Watteau’s work. However, London’s damp and smoky air offset any benefits of Dr. Mead’s wholesome food and medicines. Watteau returned to France, spending six months with Gersaint,[28] and then spent his last few months on the estate of his patron, Abbé Haranger, where he died in 1721, perhaps from tuberculous laryngitis, at the age of 36. The Abbé said Watteau was semi-conscious and mute during his final days, clutching a paint brush and painting imaginary paintings in the air.[32]

His nephew, Louis Joseph Watteau, son of Antoine’s brother Noël Joseph Watteau (1689–1756), and grand nephew, François-Louis-Joseph Watteau, son of Louis, followed Antoine into painting.

Keep Reading in

Shopping Cart

Need Help?

Questions ! Comments ? You Tell Us We Listen .

Feel free to contact us

Add Your Heading Text Here

Shopping Cart