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Definition: Boucher, François from Philip's Encyclopedia

French painter, decorator, and engraver. His style was the epitome of rococo frivolity and was distinctly risqué in tone. He was immensely successful and widely imitated. He produced more than 11,000 historical, mythological, genre, and landscape paintings. Boucher became director of the Gobelins tapestry works (1755), and was also First Painter to Louis XV.


Summary Article: Boucher, François from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French rococo painter. He was court painter to Louis XV from 1765, and was popular for his light-hearted, decorative scenes which often convey a playful eroticism, as in Diana Bathing (1742; Louvre, Paris).

Stemming from Jean Antoine Watteau, and perhaps owing something to his Italian contemporary Tiepolo, Boucher's art is the triumph of the rococo style in France. His frivolous mythologies and artificial pastorals were skilfully planned in relation to the Louis XV interiors and expressed the spirit of the age in terms of decoration.

Training Boucher studied under François Lemoyne and worked for the engraver Laurent Cars, first earning his living by making engravings after Watteau. He won the first prize of the Académie in 1723, but made the customary visit to Italy rather late, in 1729–31, admiring there the art of Pietro da Cortona and Tiepolo. On his return he was made a member of the Académie and rose to be its director in 1765.

Court painter In addition to being appointed the king's first painter, Boucher was also chief designer to the Royal Beauvais Tapestry works, designer for the Opéra, and the favourite artist of Madame de Pompadour, the king's mistress. He taught her drawing and made a number of portraits of her. A full-length one is in the Wallace Collection, London, together with the panels of gods and goddesses he designed for her boudoir. He also painted another of Louis XV's mistresses, Louise O'Murphy. Jean Honoré Fragonard was among his many pupils.

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