François Boucher

François Boucher

François Boucher (September 29 1703May 30 1770) was a French painter, a proponent of Rococo taste, known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes, decorative allegories representing the arts or pastoral occupations, and intended as a sort of two-dimensional furniture. He also painted several portraits of his illustrious patroness, Madame de Pompadour.


Born in Paris, the son of a lace designer Nicolas Boucher, François Boucher was perhaps the most celebrated decorative artist of the 18th century, with most of his work reflecting the Rococo style. At the young age of 17, Boucher was apprenticed by his father to François Lemoyne, however after only 3 months he went to work for the engraver Jean-François Cars. Within 3 years Boucher had already won the elite Grand Prix de Rome, although he did not take up the consequential opportunity to study in Italy until 4 years later. On his return from studying in Italy in 1731, he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture as a historical painter, and became a faculty member in 1734.

His career accelerated from this point, as he advanced from professor to Rector of the Academy, becoming head of the Royal Gobelin factory in 1755 and finally "Premier Peintre du Roi" (First Painter of the King) in 1765.

Reflecting inspiration gained from the artists Watteau and Rubens, Boucher's early work celebrates the idyllic and tranquil, portraying nature and landscape with great élan. However, his art typically forgoes traditional rural innocence to portray scenes with a definitive style of eroticism, and his mythological scenes are passionate and amorous rather than traditionally epic. Marquise de Pompadour (mistress of King Louis XV), whose name became synonymous with Rococo art, was a great fan of Boucher's, and it is particularly in his portraits of her that this style is clearly exemplified.

Paintings such as "The Breakfast" of 1739, a family scene, also show Boucher as a master of the genre scene, as he regularly used his own wife and family as models. These intimate family scenes are, however, in contrast to the 'licentious' style, as seen in his "Odalisque" portraits. The dark-haired version of the "Odalisque" portraits prompted claims by Diderot that Boucher was "prostituting his own wife", and the "Blonde Odalisque" was a portrait that illustrated the extramarital relationships of the King. Boucher gained lasting notoriety through such private commissions for wealthy collectors and, after the ever-moral Diderot expressed his disapproval, his reputation came under increasing critical attack during the last of his creative years.

Along with his painting, Boucher also designed theatre costumes and sets, and the ardent intrigues of the comic operas of Favart (1710-1792) closely parallel his own style of painting. Tapestry design was also an interest and major activity of his, together with his design activities for the opera and the royal palaces of Versailles, Fontainebleau and Choisy. His designs for all of the aforementioned augmented his earlier reputation, resulting in many engravings from his work and even reproduction of his themes onto porcelain and biscuit-ware at the Vincennes and Sèvres factories.

Neoclassicist Jacques-Louis David began his painting instruction under Boucher.

Boucher is famous for saying that the natural world was "trop verte et mal eclaire" (too green and badly lit).

Francois Boucher died on May 30 1770 in Paris, France. His name, along with that of his patron Madame de Pompadour, had become synonymous with the French Rococo style, leading the Goncourt brothers to write: "Boucher is one of those men who represent the taste of a century, who express, personify and embody it."

Works include

* [ Web Gallery of Art]
* "Rinaldo and Armida" (Louvre Museum)
* "The Rest on the Flight to Egypt"
* "Diana Resting after her Bath"
* "Portrait of Marie-Louise O'Murphy" (Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne)
* "Autumn"
* "Putti with Birds (L'Amour Oiseleur)", ca. 1731-33 Honolulu Academy of Arts
* "The Visit of Venus to Vulcan"
* "Christ and John the Baptist as Children"
* "Pastorale"
* "Naiads and Triton"
* "Triumph of Venus"
* "Venus Consoling Love"

Gallery of selected works

ee also

*History of painting
*Western painting

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • François Boucher — François Boucher. Porträtgemälde des schwedischen Malers Gustaf Lundberg aus dem Jahr 1741 François Boucher (* 29. September 1703 in Paris; † 30. Mai 1770 ebenda) war Maler, Zeichner, Kupferstecher und Dekorateur des französisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • François Boucher — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Retrato de Boucher por Gustav Lundberg, 1741 …   Wikipedia Español

  • François Boucher — (29 de septiembre de 1703 – 30 de mayo de 1770) fue un pintor francés, que gustó del estilo rococó, famoso por sus pinturas idílicas y voluptuosas de temas mitológicos, alegorías sobre pastores y varios retratos de Madame de Pompadour …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • François Boucher — Pour les articles homonymes, voir François Boucher (homonymie). François Boucher …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Francois Boucher — Selbstporträt Pastorale …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Francois Boucher — (1703 1770) French Rococo painter, creator of Toilet of Venus and Birth and Triumph of Venus …   English contemporary dictionary

  • François Boucher (homonymie) —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie différentes personnes partageant un même nom. François Boucher peut faire référence à : François Boucher (1703 1770), un peintre et goguettier français, François Boucher (1955 ), un navigateur français …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • François-Boucher, Bruno — (1957, Bay onne, Pyrénées Atlantiques, France )    After studying cinema at the C.L.C.F., he was a third assistant director (1981 Hôtel des Amériques, André Téchiné; 1983 Circulez y a rien à voir, Patrice Leconte), second assistant director for… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors