Currently on View in H213
In this, his earliest known painting, Watteau draws inspiration from scenes of fairs, peasant weddings, and country dances by Flemish painters like Peter Paul Rubens and David Teniers. Compared to their Flemish forebears, however, Watteau's dancing villagers are more civilized and courtly. Rustic music, which frequently accompanies drunkenness and debauchery in Flemish art, here alludes to the natural harmony of social and familial order.
The increasing popularity in 18th-century France of novels and plays with rural themes also reveals a new appreciation for the imagined harmony and simplicity of country life.
Anonymous collection, southern France, Wildenstein Company, New York, New York, Max Safron Galleries, New York, New York, J.K. Lilly Collection, Indianapolis, Indiana, June 6, 1961, Mrs. Herman C. Krannert, Gift to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1974 (74.98)