"Vaublin and the fête galante style"

Vaublin is a fictitious painter who appears in two of Banville's other novels, Ghosts and Athena

Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) popularised the fête galante painting style, placing real patrons in scenes of Arcadian mythology.  The general theme, according to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., is of 'well-dressed members of the upper class pursuing love, music, conversation'.

The term fête galante, literally "gallant party" refers to various theatrical entertainments of the Versailles court during the 18th Century.