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François Boucher
Birth Date: 
Death Date: 
Francois Boucher is the quintessential artist of the rococo, a style characterized by elegance, artifice, wit, and imagination. Parisian by birth, Boucher was the son of a painter. He entered the studio of François Le Moyne about 1720, where he learned the new style, and executed drawings for the engraver Jean-François Cars. By exhibiting at the Exposition de la Jeunesse, he met the connoisseur Jean de Jullienne, who invited him to make engravings after many of Watteau's drawings. Although Boucher won the Prix de Rome in 1723, it was not until 1727 that he went to Italy to study at his own expense. There he was influenced in particular by the Venetians Veronese and Tiepolo, and Roman painting. He went back to Paris in 1731, became a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1734, and, upon the death of Carle Vanloo, was named both director of the academy and First Painter to the King in 1765. His most steadfast and influential patron was the marquise de Pompadour, mistress to Louis XV, but he was inundated with commissions throughout his official career. The range of his ceuvre includes not only paintings but decorations, tapestries, stage designs, porcelains, fans, and drawings, all executed with sure draftsmanship, inexhaustible inventiveness, and a rich palette of pastel colors. Boucher continued his amazing productivity until his death, in spite of the public's changing taste, the sharp criticism of Diderot, and his own failing eyesight.