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François Boucher (1703 - 1770)

Lifespan: 1700s - 1770s

Related: erotic art - 1700s - Rococo - French art

Girl Reclining (Louise O'Murphy) 1751 - François Boucher

Odalisque (detail) c. 1745 - François Boucher

Odalisque c. 1745 - François Boucher


François Boucher (Bordeaux 1703 - May 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 several portraits of Madame de Pompadour.

With much of his work reflecting inspiration gained from artists Watteau and Rubens, Boucher's early work celebrates the idyllic and tranquil, portraying nature and landscape with great élan. However, his work 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.

Denis Diderot claimed that Boucher painted in a licentious style, taking special offense in Boucher's 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 extra-marital 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.

Francois Boucher died on May 30, 1770 in Paris, France. His name had become synonymous with the French Rococo style, along with that of his patron, Madame de Pompadour, 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."

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francois_Boucher

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