A Pastoral Scene ('L'Aimable Pastorale') (1762)
About this artwork
A young man spies on a young woman asleep in a beautiful garden; they appear like a shepherd and nymph from classical poetry, transformed into a contemporary but idealised setting. Boucher's pastoral themes often depicted charming couples in bucolic settings, accompanied by animals. Here the young man's dog echoes his master's inquisitive stance, but directs his attention to the cat on the woman's lap. The delicate colouring enhances the picture's gentle mood. The proportions of the canvas suggest that it was designed to be set into a wall as part of a decorative scheme.
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.