This is a vintage colotype after the circa 1718-1719 drawing by listed artist Jean-Antoine Watteau. This portrait depicts the famous traveling actor from of golden age of the Commedia dell'arte, Luigi Riccoboni.
The paper measures 14"h x 10.25"w and the framed dimensions are "w
Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684 – 1721) was a French painter whose brief career spurred the revival of interest in color and movement and revitalized the declining popularity of the Baroque movement. He is credited with inventing the genre of fêtes galantes (gallant parties). This genre celebrated pursuits of the idle, rich aristocrats of the 18th century—from 1715 until the 1770s. Some of his best known subjects were drawn from the world of Italian comedy and ballet.
Watteau showed an early interest in painting, and apprenticed with local painters early in his life. Watteau quickly exhausted the knowledge of his local mentor and left for Paris in about 1702. There he found employment in a workshop at Pont Notre-Dame, making copies of popular genre paintings in the Flemish and Dutch tradition; it was in that period that he developed his characteristic sketchlike technique.
In 1703 he was employed as an assistant by the painter Claude Gillot, whose work represented a reaction against the pompous official art of Louis XIV's reign. In Gillot's studio Watteau became acquainted with the characters of the commedia dell'arte (comedy of the art), a favorite subject of Gillot's that would become one of Watteau's lifelong passions. Afterward he moved to the workshop of Claude Audran III, an interior decorator, under whose influence he began to make drawings admired for their consummate elegance.
In 1709 Watteau tried to obtain the Prix de Rome from the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and was rejected by the Academy. In 1712 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. He took five years to deliver the required "reception piece", but it was one of his masterpieces: the Pilgrimage to Cythera, also called the Embarkation for Cythera.
Watteau alarmed his friends by a carelessness about his future and financial security, as if foreseeing he would not live for long. In fact he had been sickly and physically fragile since childhood. In 1720, he traveled to London, England to consult Dr Richard Mead, one of the most fashionable physicians of his time and an admirer of Watteau's work. However London's damp and smoky air offset any benefits of Dr. Mead's wholesome food and medicines. Watteau returned to France and spent his last few months on the estate of his patron, Abbé Haranger, where he died in 1721 perhaps from tuberculous laryngitis at the age of 36. The Abbé said Watteau was semi-conscious and mute during his final days, clutching a paint brush and painting imaginary paintings in the air.