Francois Boucher was the French Rococo painter, engraver and designer whose delightful light subjects best embody the frivolity and elegant superficiality of French court life in the middle of the eighteenth century.
Boucher lived his whole life in Paris. Born in 1703, his first teacher was his father, a famous designer of embroidery, who recognised his son's natural gift and decided to send him to a more experienced master. François Boucher therefore entered the Atelier de la Moine and, having spent valuable formative time there, went to work with an experienced specialist engraver.
In 1721 Boucher received a flattering and prestigious commission to illustrate L'Histoire de France by Daniel. At this time he was striving to be acceptable to L'Academie and this diligence was rewarded in 1723, when he won the Academys first prize. He then travelled to Italy and, upon his return to France, found success as a semi-official portrait painter to the wives and mistresses of financiers and public figures.
Bouchers reputation grew rapidly and, in 1733, he married Marie-Jeanne Buzot, his favourite model. In January of the following year, he entered L'Academie, thus finally achieving the recognition he craved and deserved as one of the greatest painters of his time.
Thanks to the influence of Madame de Pompadour, he became the official artist to the King and also worked as a designer for the Beauvais Tapestry Company. There he created many designs and painted charmingly indelicate mythological scenes, inspired by Veronese, Reubens and Watteau. He was morally censured for his scandalous depictions, but this happy time was not to last. Boucher died six months later, in 1770, worn out by both work and pleasure.
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