Venus and Cupid

Object Details

Title:

Venus and Cupid

Artist/Maker(s):

François Boucher (French, 1703 - 1770)

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1750 - 1752

Medium:

Black, white, red, blue, and green chalk

Dimensions:

37.5 x 21.3 cm (14 3/4 x 8 3/8 in.)

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"Voluptuousness was the essence and the soul of Boucher's art," wrote the Goncourt brothers, famous art critics of the mid-1800s. Intended to be framed and hung like a painting, Venus and Cupid typifies François Boucher's works both in its unselfconsciously erotic female nude and in its sensual use of the chalk medium. Until the 1700s, few artists had actively cultivated the powdery, floating qualities of chalks. Here the green pastel in the vegetation and the white chalk above it billow around Venus like a veil of smoke, complementing the soft, yielding fleshy bodies that Boucher created with a thick application of white chalk.

Throughout his long career, Boucher made two to three drawings a day, producing approximately ten thousand known works ranging from quick sketches to finished compositions like this one.

Provenance

M. Denis, presented to him from the artist in 1752.

M. de Sireul, Paris

December 3, 1781

Boileau, Paris, (lot 51)

Victorien Sardou, Paris

April 27, 1909

Galerie Georges Petit, (lot 55)

Margaret Singer

January 25, 1984

William Doyle Galleries, (lot 81)

Exhibitions
The Power of Myth: European Mythological Drawings of the 15th through the 19th Century (October 12 to December 26, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 12 to December 26, 1993
Color in Drawing (March 10 to May 24, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 10 to May 24, 1998
The Body Beautiful: Artists Draw the Nude (1440 - 1880) (December 14, 1999 to February 27, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 14, 1999 to February 27, 2000
French Drawings from the Age of Greuze (September 10 to December 1, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 10 to December 1, 2002