Jean Antoine Watteau (b.1684-d.1721) was a French painter whose brief career spurred the revival of interest in colour and movement, and revitalized the waning Baroque idiom, which eventually became known as Rococo. He was born in Flemish town of Valenciennes, which had just been annexed by the French king Louis XIV.
His earliest influences were Flemish, for in Valenciennes, his teacher worked in a seventeenth-century Mannerist genre style. Watteau went to Paris in 1702, and he was employed as an assistant by the painter Claude Gillot on sets for the theater, especially the Italian Commedia dell' Arte. In 1708-1709 Watteau worked with the decorator Claude Audran. In about 1708 his small and human battle paintings attracted the attention of perceptive dealers, collectors, and well-known imitators of Rubens. In 1709 he tried to obtain the Prix de Rome and was rejected by the Academy. In 1717 he tried again and was considered so good that, rather than receiving the one-year stay in Rome for which he had applied, he was accepted as a full member of the Academy.
In 1719, already seriously ill with tuberculosis, Watteau went to England to consult Queen Anne's physician who became his patron and friend. Watteau died in Nogent-sur-Marne on the 18th of July, 1721 at the age of 37.