As Watteau’s only true pupil, Jean-Baptiste Pater built his career on the shoulders of his teacher, quite naturally stepping in to fill the void left in the market by Watteau’s untimely death in 1721. Pater was received into the French Académie in 1728 as a 'painter of modern subjects', and the artist best able to continue the tradition of fêtes galantes that his celebrated master had invented. Yet there is something lighter and more decorative in Pater's paintings than in his master's prototypes. His brushwork is looser and more liquid, his palette of pearly pinks, silver greys, milky ivories and acid blues is cooler, brighter and less autumnal than Watteau's.
As in Watteau’s fêtes galantes, the lovers in the present pair of paintings wear an imaginative mixture of contemporary clothing and fancy dress, with the women in elegant street clothes and the men in theatrical costume. Musicians serenade the amorous couples as they court one another in idyllic, parkland settings, full of trees that appear to burst forth from the ground like jets of water from a fountain. The central group of figures in the first canvas appears in a variant by a follower of Pater in the musée de Nantes (see F. Ingersoll-Smouse, op. cit., p. 44, no. 78, fig. 216). The second painting repeats a composition Pater created for Frederick the Great’s Sanssouci Palace at Potsdam (ibid., p. 121, no. 58), but Pater here adds the dog at right, and makes subtle changes to the statuary and the foliage.