fête galante

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(French, ‘courtship party’)

A category of painting specially devised by the French Academy in 1717 to describe Antoine Watteau's (1684–1721) variations on the theme of the fête champêtre in which figures in ball dress or masquerade costume disport themselves amorously in parkland settings. There is often an underlying melancholy to Watteau's pictures of this type, however, as in his great reception piece for the Academy The Pilgrimage for Cythera (Louvre, Paris).

Subjects: Art.

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