French painter, noted for his pastoral and mythological scenes, whose work embodies the frivolity and sensuousness of the rococo style.
Francois Boucher, the son of a designer of lace, was born in Paris. In 1723 Francois Boucher won the Prix de Rome; he studied in Rome from 1727 to 1731. After his return to France, he created hundreds of oil paintings, decorative boudoir panels, tapestry designs, theater designs, and book illustrations. He became a faculty member of the Royal Academy in 1734. 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.
Francois 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 oil 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.
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