Born: 29 September 1703; Paris, France
Died: 30 May 1770; Paris, France
Active Years: 1720 - 1770
Art Movement: Rococo
Possibly the most popular 18th century artist, Francois Boucher was a French painter in the Rococo style. When he was 17 years old, Boucher was apprenticed for a short time to the French painter Francois Lemoyne, and then to the engraver Jean-Francois Cars. After three years of work and artistic study, Boucher won the Grand Prix de Rome, a scholarship for artistic study, allowing him to travel to Italy and further his study in art. Upon his return to France, he was accepted into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, and three years later became a faculty member.
His painting career accelerated rapidly, and he was promoted to the Rector of the Academy, then head of the Royal Gobelins Manufacturing Company, and later First Painter to the King, Louis XV. His most prominent during his stay at the court, indeed in his entire career, was Madame de Pompadour, the mistress to King Louis XV, of whom he painted several portraits.
Many of his paintings depicted idyllic pastoral scenes or classical historical paintings, but his more risqué odalisque paintings in his later career led to many attacks on his moral character. Nevertheless, his paintings and artistic style was always in demand, and in addition to paintings he created theater costumes and sets, tapestries, and decorations for court celebrations. His work was prominent that it was reproduced in engravings and on porcelain and biscuit-ware. By the time of his death, Francois Boucher’s name and body of work had become synonymous with the Rococo style.
Leda and the Swan , 1741