Music distinguishes itself from the other arts by its evanescence: as soon as it has been heard, it evaporates, leaving no trace other than in the head of its auditors. Antoine Watteau, the most musical of the painters of his time, practised his art in the same way: of the moment. The softness of the colours, the fragility of the light, the delicacy of the lines, the airiness of the spaces, all is ephemeral and fleeting. His celebrated Pèlerinage à l’Isle de Cithère, accepted into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1717, brought to the painter the title of “Peintre des fêtes galantes” (Painter of Gallant Festivities). The spirit of Galanterie is an evocation of a voyage, of the exotic, of the exploration of new territory, of a seemingly untamed Nature, but one skillfuly arranged for man’s pleasure. Galer means nothing more than “to amuse oneself”. No reckless sensuality here, no extravagance that might threaten the fragile equilibrium of a society based on pleasantry and humour. Time is only an instant, the world in unstable equilibrium. And yet this vision seems also to contain a hint of melancholy. The subjects of the idyll are not new, insofar as they are reminiscent of the Pastoral, inherited from antiquity: a bucolic tableau where pleasure is taken in a setting where shepherds and shepherdesses live out their amours. Marain Marais depicted like no other this spirit of Galanterie in his so-called Pièces de Caractère, such as Le Troilleur, Le Petit Badinage, La Désolée, La Simplicité paysane, Resveries mesplaiziennes or Les Amusements.
This disc is the sequel to the 2012 Ramée publication Hommages :