Antoine Watteau Picture Study Aid and Art Prints for Homeschool Art Appreciation

Through Friday, May 19th, 2023, the Antoine Watteau Picture Study Aid is on sale! You can get the Picture Study Aid and Art prints set for $15.99 ($3 off the regular price of $18.99) and the PDF for $11.99 ($2 off the regular price of $13.99). This offer does not include the picture study prints and is only valid while supplies last.

To read more about Charlotte Mason picture study and to see the other Picture Study Aids I offer, click here.

Antoine Watteau was only 36 years old when he died in the early part of the 18th century, yet in the short amount of time he was alive, he became a master of one of the most popular art movements in history; one that, among other things, epitomized an entire era of the French elite. Though somewhat more subtle than prior art movements in the Baroque period, the Rococo style is still flamboyant and outrageous, decadent and lavish, and offers a glimpse of court life during the early 18th century. Watteau, considered one of the leaders of this style, so awed his contemporaries with his skills that the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture created an entirely new category for the painting he chose to submit for acceptance into the Academy: the fête-galante (or “courtship party”).

Though there are often subtle (and not so subtle) adult themes in Rococo pieces, Watteau was quite prolific during his short life, and we have many images from which to choose that represent not only the style of the period but also his personal preferences in subject matter. These range anywhere from his signature fête-galante, to political commentary on war in his hometown and portraits of migrant workers.

I’m happy to announce that I made some changes to the Antoine Watteau Picture Study Aid, and the updated version is now available in the shop in both download and print form! Included in this 26-page Picture Study Aid is a brief story from the life of French Rococo painter, Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), key topics for seven of his works (see below), a few book recommendations for additional study, printable versions of the pieces covered in the PDF version, a brief discussion about Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods for implementing picture study at different ages, and in the printed book, I have also included a portrait of the artist.

The pieces discussed are:

  • The Portal of Valenciennes (ca. 1710-1711)
  • Savoyard with a Marmot (1716)
  • The Embarkation for Cythera (or Pilgrimage to Cythera – 1717)*
  • The Scale of Love (ca. 1717)
  • Mezzetin (ca. 1718-1720)
  • Pierrot (or Gilles) ca. 1718-1719
  • l’Enseigne de Gersaint (1720)*

(*There is a minor amount of nudity in statue form in “The Embarkation for Cythera” and in a few of the paintings on the walls in “l’Enseigne de Gersaint.”)


This guide is by no means an exhaustive analysis or study of each piece, which is intentional. I tried to keep it all very simple in the spirit of there being:

…no talk about schools of painting, little about style; consideration of these matters comes in later life, the first and most important thing is to know the pictures themselves. As in a worthy book we leave the author to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as else-where we shut out the middleman.


Instead, this Picture Study Aid is meant to offer basic information about the artists as well as ready answers should your student ask about a particular aspect of a piece and the explanation isn’t readily evident. Ms. Mason emphasized not focusing on strict academic discourse when doing picture study but rather simply exposing students to the art itself:

His education should furnish him with whole galleries of mental pictures, pictures by great artists old and new;––…––in fact, every child should leave school with at least a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of his imagination, to say nothing of great buildings, sculpture, beauty of form and colour in things he sees. Perhaps we might secure at least a hundred lovely landscapes too,––sunsets, cloudscapes, starlight nights. At any rate he should go forth well furnished because imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold.


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