Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) was a French Rococo painter. He was born in Valenciennes to an impoverished tiler who used what little money he earned to educate his son. Watteau was apprenticed to Gerin, a local painter in Valenciennes. When Gerin died in 1702, Watteau went to Paris and gained employment as a scene painter, and later in a factory that mass produced devotional art. He worked in the ateliers of various masters, and his reputation grew until he attracted the attention of painter Charles de la Fosse, who ensured his admission into the Academy. There Watteau's fame reached meteoric heights, and he exerted a commanding influence on on the next generations of the French Rococo style. Most notably, he created the genre of depicting wealthy people relaxing in Edenic splendor.
The Venetian Festival. (oil on canvas, National Galleries of Scotland)
The Festival of Love. (oil on canvas, at the Gemäldegalerie in Desden)
The Music Party. (Oil on canvas, at the Wallace)