François Boucher

Boucher was a talented and prolific painter, draughtsman, etcher, who also did porcelain, tapestry and stage design. His work came to define the aesthetic of French rococo painting in the early and middle part of the 18th Century.

He came from a family of artists and was probably trained by his father. He competed for the prestigious Prix de Rome, which he won in 1723, but he was not able to take up this appointment. Instead he began working on various commissions eventually becoming the court painter of Madame de Pompadour. Toward the end of his career he was criticized for the suggestive sexuality and frivolity of his works at a time when private morality and public virtue were becoming more highly valorized. Notwithstanding critical fashions, Boucher's work was immensely varied from genre scenes, landscapes, portraits and even history paintings the most important genre in the artistic hierarchy of his time.

The Judgement of Susannah, and the preparatory study in chalk are his very earliest religious subjects, created when the artist was only 17 years old. Boucher became one of the most sought after and affluent artists of the Ancien regime. He had many official honours: Director of the Academy and First Painter of the King (Premier Peintre du Roi).

© Réunion des Musées Nationaux /Art Resource, NY