In the 18th century, a taste for everything oriental appears, and especially for Chinese, since it is a remote, exotic and mysterious culture that will fascinate artists and also the patrons who buy their works.
It is true that the mainstream first followed a taste for the most rococo or academic art, but the arrival of porcelain, furniture and fabrics from the Far East brought an air of renewal evident in European tastes.
Boucher's Chinese Garden
They are forms completely different from the traditional ones, and these new aesthetic canons were going to become a true fashion in the artistic salons of the European courts. Oriental furniture will begin to be used in palaces, or tea pavilions and even replica pagodas will be built in gardens. And of course silks, lacquers, screens or fans in the chinoise style. will become fashionable
In that context we have to understand this painting by the painter Francoise Boucher, a renowned Rococo painter with works as attractive as Captive Cupid or Diana after the bath.
Here he surprises us with this work from 1742 that is preserved in the Museum of Fine Arts of Besançon. Its title already tells us everything about the theme: El Jardín Chino. And in fact the purpose of this image was to serve as a model for a later tapestry that was going to be madeat the Royal Beauvais Tapestry Factory, which was run by the painter Jean Baptiste Oudry.
Everything on the canvas are exotic elements. Starting with the vegetation itself. None of the trees that can be seen in the background of the scene are not typical of French environments. And to that we must add the pavilions, the paper umbrellas, the conical hats, the clothes of the characters, the fans, the porcelain. It is a compendium of the most topical elements of Chinese culture that had reached Europe at that time.
On the other hand there is the composition of the work. Completely anarchic in the sense that there is no symmetry at all, apparently disorder reigns, given the clear accumulation of people and things. With a fairly warm and pasty color, with which soft shapes are brought to life. Somehow even the tonalities and the misty sky with the upper parts of the vegetation make it seem like a fairytale and magical atmosphere. That is, the ideas with which the Far East was related.