we are considering this style, and it is that of Antoine Watteau, who, although not a cabinet maker in any sense of the word, exercised considerable influence over the decorative work of the period by the persistent cultivation of that particular class of pictorial subject; which, ever since his day, has been associated with his name.
Commencing his career as a scene-painter under the famous Gillot, he soon gave ample proof that the making of a master was in him, and worked his way up with so much determination that it was not long before he received the appointment of " Painter to the King " (Louis the Fourteenth). During the reign of George the First he came over to England with the intention of settling here, but his health suffered so seriously in our climate that he was obliged to return to his own country, where he worked until his death in 1721— seven years after the accession of Louis the Fifteenth. A scenic or theatrical feeling was always associated with the work of Watteau, and when regarding his military studies of camp life, or his still more popular pastoral creations, with their frisking lambs, coy and coquettish shepherdesses, and love-sick swains, we almost instinctively listen for some concealed orchestra to break into the strains of a rollicking drinking song, "chorus of villagers/' or amorous duet.
Pastoral paintings, after Watteau and Boucher, constituted a great feature in the productions of the famous Martin family, to whose work a few words must be devoted here. Originally a coach painter by trade—and in those days even coaches were veritable works of art—Guillaume Martin and his three sons, Simon-Etienne, Julien, and Robert, maîtres-peintres et vernisseurs, devoted themselves to the improvement of varnishes and lacquers as applied to cabinet work. They did much to perfect the transparent lac varnish, and worked largely in that beautiful green varnish, powdered with gold, which is now generally known as " Vernis-Martin," and was employed extensively as a background, or "field," for such
Reference in Text
Was this article helpful?