About this artwork

The seemingly innocent romantic gesture of a young man leaving flowers for a sleeping woman thinly veils this painting’s true theme of lust and sexual attraction. His longing gaze signals his desire for her. The woman, like the garden in which she sleeps, is associated with fruitfulness, fertility and procreation. The giant urn above her and vegetables beneath her symbolise her capacity to carry and to nourish any potential children. This painting was exhibited at the 1765 Paris Salon where it was condemned by the French art critic Diderot. Along with the National Gallery of Scotland’s other two pastorals, this picture was in the collection of the Marchal de Saincy family. Originally, the paintings were not all the same size, but were subsequently cut to equal dimensions.

  • title: A Pastoral Scene ('La Jardiniere Endormie')
  • accession number: NG 2441
  • artist: Francois BoucherFrench (1703 - 1770)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Parks and gardens Flowers Rococo
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: Dated 1762
  • measurements: Painted area: 232.00 x 91.00 cm (framed: 273.50 x 121.00 x 15.00 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1986

Francois Boucher

Francois Boucher

Boucher excelled as a painter of decorative pictures, joyful and exuberant in character. His varied work included portraits, landscapes, mythological subjects, designs for tapestries, drawings and engravings. Boucher won first prize at the French Academy in 1723 and travelled to Rome in 1728. On his return to Paris he established a successful studio and became the favoured painter of King Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour. He was overwhelmed with commissions and was appointed First Painter to the King in 1765.