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Watteau, an artist of the eighteenth century

Author: Marianne Roland Michel; Antoine Watteau
Publisher: Secaucus, N.J. : Chartwell Books, 1984.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : English : Dorset Press editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
The languid grace of Watteau's figures, in his drawings and in his paintings, such as Les Plaisirs du bal is the most evident proof of his creative genius. Undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of the eighteenth century, his influence extended far beyond his own short lifetime: he died in 1721 at the age of thirty-seven. His invention of the fete galante, peopled with elegant couples dressed in brilliant clothes,  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Autobiographies
Named Person: Antoine Watteau; Antoine Watteau
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Marianne Roland Michel; Antoine Watteau
ISBN: 1555211011 9781555211011
OCLC Number: 14950707
Notes: Translation of: Watteau, un artiste au XVIIIe siècle.
Originally published: London : Trefoil Books, 1984.
Includes indexes.
Description: 320 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 34 cm
Other Titles: Watteau, un artiste au XVIIIe siècle.
Responsibility: Marianne Roland Michel.

Abstract:

The languid grace of Watteau's figures, in his drawings and in his paintings, such as Les Plaisirs du bal is the most evident proof of his creative genius. Undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of the eighteenth century, his influence extended far beyond his own short lifetime: he died in 1721 at the age of thirty-seven. His invention of the fete galante, peopled with elegant couples dressed in brilliant clothes, who flirt or stroll through idyllic landscapes, assured his success in his own lifetime, and his exquisite sense of draughtsmanship made his drawings avidly collected. Yet of Watteau the man we know scarcely anything: the accounts of his contemporaries are often vague and circumstantial, however enthusiastic, and our view of him has in the past been coloured by the romantic embellishments of nineteenth-century writers, who by identifying Watteau with his own subject matter made of him a melancholy and unhappy artist. Marianne Roland Michel's book shows the fallacy of such a view, as well as dealing honestly with the problems of his life and work. What emerges is the portrait of an artist of consummate technical skill in drawing, with an independent and original sense of subject, drawn from the theatre and from everyday life. The questions of the chronology of the works themselves, the role of the double copies, and relations between Watteau and contemporary dealers and collectors, are made clear. It is above all Watteau's sheer ability that triumphs above the biographical and technical questions about him, fascinating as they are. The subtlety and vigour of his drawings, particularly those of women, and the fluid and delicate composition of his paintings, such as the Charmes de la vie in London or the Amour au théâtre français in Berlin, or the Fêtes vénitiennes in Edinburgh, make Watteau undoubtedly one of the most brilliant and creative artists ever. -- Inside jacket flap.

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