Francois Boucher

Landscape Near Beauvais

Landscape Near Beauvais
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Author: Francois Boucher
Landscape, Painting, Oil on canvas, 49x58 cm
Origin: France, 1740s

This is one of Boucher's finest works in terms of colouring and restrained elegance. The artist's virtuoso painting skills were much admired by Denis Diderot, outstanding scholar and one of the leaders of the 18th-century Enlightenment. Although the landscape supposedly depicts a real landscape, it looks more like a set for some fantastical ballet or pastoral opera. In the foreground we have the stage itself, on which the action takes place, while the little bridge, the steps and balcony seem to be part of the scenery. The soft lighting and fine bluish haze are probably simply the result of the artist's somewhat poetic fantasy and the only element which seems to truly be taken from the location is the round tower, crowned with its pointed pigeon loft, a motif often found in Boucher's works. The small figures in the foreground, with their bundles of washing and the fishing nets strung out along the bank, suggest the everyday activities of village life, which to the rococo artist was never harsh and difficult, but always charming and peaceful.

Style: Rococo
Source of entry: Collection of E. P. and M. S. Oliv, Petrograd, 1923

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