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François Boucher (1703 - 1770) French, Rococo

Boucher was the pet painter of the seductive Marquise de Pompadou. The beautiful Marquise often invited the handsome young artist for private painting sessions in her royal chambers while her aging lover, King Louis XV, was away tending courtly matters.

The Music Lesson


The Rococo movement was initially restricted to France, later spreading to all of Europe and above all to England. The movement continued to develop until the arrival of Neoclassicism which attempted to return to the purism of classical antiquity. Rococo art themes centered around carefree aristocrats at play in make-believe settings. Cherubs were often included in the mix to give the work a touch of delightful whimsy.  Romantic scenes depict luxuriously costumed ladies and gentlemen flirting, picnicking and playing music at gallant country parties.  The background scenery is often a serene natural setting with delicate trees and sprays of roses. Colors are a profusion of soothing, light pastels. Famous Rocco painter, Joshua Reynolds stated "Raphael and Titian seem to have looked at Nature for different purposes; they both had the power of extending their view to the whole; but one looked only for the general effect as produced by form, the other as produced by colour."

Key Descriptive Words and Phrases associated with the Rococo  Movement -   Late Baroque, tapestry, Charlottenburg Palace, Versailles, 18th century, France, colloquialism, musicians, Louis XV's reign, frills, powdered wigs, masks, whimsy, garish makeup, men in high heels, cherubs, elaborate recipes, pre-revolution,  rediscovery of the classical world, Château de Chantilly, ethereal  background scenery, melodramatic, decorative,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  pastel colors,  romanticized landscapes, courtship themed paintings

Key Painters of the Rocco Movement
Pompeo Batoni
Bernardo Bellotto
Francois Boucher
Jean-Baptiste Chardin

Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Thomas Gainsborough
Francisco de Goya
Thomas Hudson
Jean-Marc Nattier
Joshua Reynolds
Paul Sandby
Jean Antoine Watteau


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