Boucher's Captive Cupid

Boucher's Captive Cupid
Boucher's Captive Cupid

The French painter Francois Boucher (1703 – 1770) can be considered the great initiator of Rococo painting. And this is so both because he inaugurated a series of themes and attitudes typical of this artistic movement, and also because he was the master of Jean Honoré Fragonard, who with works like The Swing would become the great rococo painter of the time.


Boucher's Captive Cupid

Boucher was the one who first painted the mythological paintings with a clearly exhibitionist spirit. So much so that his art at times was not only described as very erotic, but even the most well-thinking personalities of the time, such as Denis Diderot, called it pornographic.

However, that was not an impediment to his success, and his paintings were desired by the eighteenth-century aristocracy, which in some way felt very identified with that way of depicting sexuality as something festive and also refined. Not forgetting that his extraordinary success was also helped by the fact that he was the favorite painter ofMadame Pompadour, the most influential lady of the time as the mistress of Louis XV, and whom he portrayed in various occasions

A good example of the art developed by Francoise Boucher is this oil on canvas en titled Captive Cupid. A work that she made in 1754 and that is currently part of theCollectionWallace located in Great Britain.

In this painting the painter is asking us to loop the loop, making Cupid, the god of love, fall into his own trap. He is no longer the unpredictable boy who launches his fiery darts at others, but rather he who is imprisoned in an idyllic garden, where he is guarded by naked nymphs.

In works like these it is not difficult to draw parallels with previous painters who were true references for Boucher. One of them isAntoine Watteauwhose work he had studied extensively during his formative years. And another isRubens, of whom he knows how to capture not only the voluptuousness of the bodies, but above all the transmission of enormous vitality to his scenes.

Without a doubt, Boucher's art exudes all the gallant atmosphere of Rococó. And also the decorative spirit of that artistic moment. In fact, in the vast majority of commissions he received, he already knew in which room and in which precise place of the aristocratic mansions his painting was going to be placed. A location that he had in mind when planning the perspectives, viewing angles, scales and proportions of the characters.

Therefore everything fitted together, the aesthetics were appropriate, the festive spirit was transmitted and the work fit perfectly with its surroundings. Hence, he was never without work. And he not only painted, but also made a multitude of designs for tapestries, ceramics, and even costumes and sets.

Popular topic