Object Image

Fêtes Vénitiennes

This is a very fine example of the 'fêtes galantes' perfected by Watteau. He included himself as the seated musician playing a musette. The central dancer may be the leading actress Charlotte Desmares, who was mistress of the Duc d'Orleans. Her male dancing partner is Nicolas Vleughels, a Flemish painter, who was Watteau's friend and landlord. The painting may contain a private meaning enjoyed by the two artists. The other figures are based on drawings Watteau made from his direct observations of contemporary society. The painting acquired its present title from an engraving made after it, published in 1732.

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Credit: Bequest of Lady Murray of Henderland 1861

1718 - 1719
Oil on canvas
56.3 x 46.2cm
NG 439
Image and text © National Galleries of Scotland, 2024

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