François Boucher (Neoclassicism, Romanticism, & Rococo)
François Boucher (c. 1703 – 1770) was a Rococo French painter known for the cheerful and light-hearted atmosphere in his works. His famous works often featured a diverse range of classical themes including the rustic lifestyles in pastoral scenes, biblical and mythological subjects as well as female nudes.
Due to the fact that his flourished and classical style aligned with the taste of Louis XV (r. 1715 – 1774) and Madame de Pompadour (chief mistress of Louis XV), he was one of the most highly honoured painters in the 18th century. However, upon the rejection of the Rococo art movement and the new interest of Neoclassicism style, Boucher’s reputation declined and his works faced criticism later in his career. Some of his most famous works are Diana at the Bath of 1742 (Paris, Musée du Louvre), The Toilet of Venus of 1751 and Pensent-ils au Raisin of 1749 (London, Wallace Collection). Unlike use of primary colors and dark tones we see in the Baroque period, Boucher often employ soft, pale, delicate tones and gentle gestures that was prevalent in Rococo & Romanticism period.
It’s certainly interesting to see the dynamic splits in styles from Baroque to Rococo, Neoclassicism and Romanticism. While Rococo artists like Francois Boucher and Jean-Honore Fragonard portrayed idealized versions of what they see; Romanticism painters like Francisco Goya Saturn would depicted dehumanized, emotional or menacing scenes. This is also most profound in Goya’s work devouring his children.