Boucher, François (1703-1770), French painter, noted for his pastoral and mythological scenes, whose work embodies the frivolity and sensuousness of the rococo style.
Boucher, the son of a designer of lace, was born in Paris. He studied with the painter François Le Moyne but was most influenced by the delicate style of his contemporary Antoine Watteau. In 1723 Boucher won the Prix de Rome; he studied in Rome from 1727 to 1731. After his return to France, he created hundreds of paintings, decorative boudoir panels, tapestry designs, theater designs, and book illustrations. He became a faculty member of the Royal Academy in 1734. He designed for the Beauvais tapestry works and in 1755 became director of the Gobelins tapestries. In 1765 he was made first painter to the king, director of the Royal Academy, and designer for the Royal Porcelain Works. His success was encouraged by his patron, Marquise de Pompadour, mistress to Louis XV. He painted her portrait several times.
Boucher's delicate, lighthearted depictions of classical divinities and well-dressed French shepherdesses delighted the public, who considered him the most fashionable painter of his day. Examples of his work are the paintings Triumph of Venus (1740, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm) and Nude Lying on a Sofa (1752, Alte Pinakothek, Munich) and the tapestry series Loves of the Gods (1744). Boucher's sentimental, facile style was too widely imitated and fell out of favor during the rise of neoclassicism. He died in Paris on May 30, 1770.
The Rest on the Flight to Egypt
1737; The Hermitage Museum at St. Petersburg
Diana Leaving her Bath
1742; Oil on canvas; Louvre
1745; Wallace Collection, London
The Visit of Venus to Vulcan
1754; Wallace Collection, London
Christ and John the Baptist as Children
1758; Oil on oval canvas; Uffizi
Naiads and Triton
1763(?); black and red chalk with white highlights on beige paper; Louvre