Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) developed a new category of genre painting known as the fete galante, scenes of a kind of aristocratic pastoral fantasy world.
One of these pictures, The Embarkation for Cythera in 1717 (Louvre, Paris), won him membership of the French Academy.
Watteau was born in Valenciennes. At first inspired by Flemish genre painters, he produced tavern and military scenes. His early years in Paris, from 1702, introduced him to fashionable French paintings and in particular to decorative styles and theatrical design. He was also influenced by Giorgione and Rubens.