What Watteau wanted to do was explore images of love between two individuals, hoping to gain psychological and sociological insights into the male and female sides of all personalities. His paintings are rife with feelings of freedom and the electrical current that is desire, wresting art from the constraints of decorum, searching for what it means to be and feel human. Watteau's images sought to unleash some of Rousseau's noble savage in their intimate portrayal of love.
The most popular complaint regarding this and other Rococo paintings is that they are inherently "feminine", as the French critic Diderot lamented. An English critic, the third Earl of Shatesbury claimed that looking at a Rococo painting was like looking at a woman's dress, making "effeminant our tastes" utterly setting wrong all judgements and knowledge of art. One can only surmise from this that high or "good" art is supposedly rational, sturdy, and virtuous (read masculine) like the academies and governments which supported such work. This male/female polemic would continue to taint art language for the next 200 years.