Jean Antoine Watteau, a French painter, born in Valenciennes, Oct. 10,1684, died at Nogentsur-Marne, near Paris, July 18, 1721. He early attempted landscapes, though he received but little instruction from his teachers, one of whom he accompanied in 1702 to Paris. He studied under Claude Gillot and Claude Audran, the custodian of the Luxembourg palace, where he found inspiration in Rubens's pictures; and he subsequently improved his coloring after the Venetian roasters. After leaving Audran's studio in 1709, he received an academical prize for one of his pictures, and his "Departure of Troops" and "Halt of the Army" obtained for him in 1712 a pension from the king. In 1717, on being formally received as a member of the academy, he exhibited his " Embarking for Cythera," which made him famous. The merit of his faithful and brilliant delineations of the costumes, manners, and life of the latter part of the reign of Louis XIV. and under the regency, has been fully recognized in recent times. In 1875 a national subscription was proposed to erect a monument to him at Valenciennes. His fetes elegantes, pastoral pieces, and genre pictures are remarkable for grace and originality, as well as his landscapes, which inaugurated a more unconventional method of painting. He also excelled in portraits and engraving.
He left over 550 pieces, which have been engraved.