Jean-Antoine Watteau is attributed to extending the bounds of the 18th century French-born Rococo at period beyond architecture, furniture and sculpture and into painting. In comparison to other movements the Rococo was short lived, perhaps due to Watteau's untimely death at the age of 36, just as his career was flourishing. Still, he was attributed to developing a unique style and revolutionizing the art world through his individuality. This was seen not only in the themes of his theatrically-influenced work but also in his ornate and airy style. As well as his painting skills, Watteau was perhaps one of the most brilliant and innovative draftsmen of the eighteenth century, displaying a fascinating talent with the "trois-crayons" or "three-chalk" technique. Watteau's influence on the art world, encompassing costume, film, poetry, music was more extensive than that of almost any other eighteenth century artist. He had many followers during his career but also a lot of critics. Despite his reputation diminishing with the fall of Rococo, it was restored after the French Revolution.
Son of a roof tiler in Valenciennes, he was apprenticed to a local artist. According to early biographers his childhood was an unhappy one. As a boy he was sensitive and susceptible to quick changes of mood, a voracious reader of novels, and an avid music lover. At 18 he moved to Paris, where he worked for a series of painters; one of them was a theatrical scenery painter, and much of Watteau's work consequently embraced the artifice of the theatre, particularly the commedia dell'arte and the ballet. His works typified the lyrically charming and graceful Rococo style.