‘Boucher is one of those men who represent the taste of a century, who express, personify & embody it’.
– Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt.
The 18th century French artist, François Boucher, passed away on this day, May 30th 1770.
François Boucher was the son of Nicolas Boucher, a minor artist in Paris, who gave him his first artistic training. Among the most prolific artists of his time, he worked in practically every medium and genre, advocating a mature Rococo style that was extensively disseminated in prints and via his many designs for the decorative arts. From being professor at the Académie Royale (from 1737) and head of the Gobelins Tapestry Works (1755), he was appointed Premier Peintre du Roi in 1765. His principal patron was Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV.
As professor at the Académie, he was required to position male models into complex poses suitable for his students to draw from; such drawings were an integral part of academic instruction and were known as ‘académies’. This work, ‘An Académie of a Man Seated on the Ground, with One Leg over Another and One Hand on the Other’, is a good example of such a drawing. The model looks serious, as he holds this awkward, no doubt uncomfortable pose; the act of clamping of one hand over the other seems to be a way to help him maintain this position for a lengthy time.
François Boucher (1703-1770)
An Académie of a Man Seated on the Ground
Black and white chalk on light brown paper
AGLC 273 @ A.G Leventis Gallery