JEAN-ANTOINE WATTEAU

The Embarkation for Cythera

ca. 1710

Oil on canvas, cut out and lined
Inv. No. 2150

44 × 54 cm

zur  Biographie

Watteau, the French Rococo’s painter of “fêtes galantes” (celebrations of love) executed this work around 1710, referred to in engraved copies as the “Ile de Cythére”. Cythera, the island of love in Greek mythology and the centre of Aphrodite’s cult, appears in the background as a monumental stairway with terraced architecture upon which countless amoretti are playfully romping. A company of young ladies and gents in festive garb has gathered on the shore, presumably to board the gondola a moment hence and head for the island. The scene’s glowing palette testifies to the influence Venetian painting exerted on Watteau.


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