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One of Watteau’s most famous compositions, 'Les Champs Elisées' evokes the spirit of an idealised park landscape. The picture may be read as a progress of love. We move from left to right through child-like innocence, female friendship and conversation between the sexes to the isolation of the observer standing on the right. The sleeping Venus on the dolphin fountain acts as a witty comment on the platonic nature of the foreground scene.
oil on mahogany panel
H 31.2 x W 41 cm
acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1848; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897