(Fr.: ‘outdoor feast’).
Type of painting in which figures are shown in an idealized outdoor setting, usually eating, dancing, flirting, or listening to music, and typically evoking a mood of reverie. From the time of the Gardens of Love represented in medieval manuscripts, the theme has had great popularity in European art, undergoing several transformations. It was specially favoured in 16th-century Venetian painting and the Concert Champêtre in the Louvre (traditionally by Giorgione, but now usually given to Titian) is the most celebrated of all examples of the type. The term fête galante (courtship party) was invented by the Académie Royale in Paris in 1717 to describe Watteau's variants on the theme, in which figures in ball dress or masquerade costume disport themselves amorously in a parkland setting.