Seated Female Nude, A
This small piece by noted French artist Francois Boucher was done in black, white, and colored chalks on buff paper. Delicately-rendered and classically-inspired voluptuous nudes like these, so-called boudoir art, were among the most popular works he sold to the aristocracy in the last, heady era before the French Revolution of 1789. The son of a lace designer, Boucher was born in Paris and studied briefly with painter Francois Lemoyne before traveling to Italy to study masters like Tiepolo and Rubens whose influence is evident in the lush forms and glowing pastel shades of his works. He was the most fashionable rococo artist and a personal favorite of Madame de Pompadour, whom he painted seven times. In 1765, he became Le Premier Peintre du Roi (First Painter of the King) and trained other young artists including Neo-Classicist Jacques-Louis David. While his work bridged the Baroque and Neo-Classical periods in style and subject, revolutionary strictures against his frivolity limited his popularity in his final years, especially after he came under critical attack from Denis Diderot. Nonetheless, famous critics the Goncourt brothers wrote of him, Boucher is one of those men who represent the taste of a century, who express, personify and embody it.