The Embarkation for Cythera

The Embarkation for Cythera
1717; Oil on canvas, 129 x 194 cm;
Musée du Louvre, ParisGenre painting came back into favour when the Academy admitted Watteau
to its ranks in 1717 on the presentation of this work, the subject of
which was so novel that the term "fête galante" was coined to describe
it. Drawing its inspiration from the theatre, the picture shows lovers
in party dress--some wearing the pilgrim's hooded cape--coming to seek
love on the island of Cythera, under the statue of its goddess,
Venus. In an iridescent landscape which owes much to Venetian
painting, allegory is caught up in the swirl of couples in a reverie;
a new and less didactic interpretation of Titian's elegiac mode.

The Embarkation for Cythera 1717; Oil on canvas, 129 x 194 cm; Musée du Louvre, ParisGenre painting came back into favour when the Academy admitted Watteau to its ranks in 1717 on the presentation of this work, the subject of which was so novel that the term "fête galante" was coined to describe it. Drawing its inspiration from the theatre, the picture shows lovers in party dress--some wearing the pilgrim's hooded cape--coming to seek love on the island of Cythera, under the statue of its goddess, Venus. In an iridescent landscape which owes much to Venetian painting, allegory is caught up in the swirl of couples in a reverie; a new and less didactic interpretation of Titian's elegiac mode.