François Boucher

A Masterful Balance


This etching, a screen design by great artist François Boucher, is iconic for its inclusion of the French word rocaille. In the eighteenth century, rocaille referred to the irregular rockwork that was used to embellish picturesque grottos and garden fountains but the word has since come to be synonymous with the rococo as a style. The design exemplifies the fanciful profusion of flora and fauna characteristic of the period. Sinuous plant forms asymmetrically frame a fountain encrusted with shells. Below, two monkeys squabble beside a flowing pool of water.
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Slideshow: Miss Rococo


Intimate and ornate, rococo design has long been associated with feminine taste. Madame de Pompadour, the official mistress of Louis XV, was one of the supreme patrons of the rococo style. In 1990 artist Cindy Sherman pictured herself as Madame de Pompadour, emblazoning her image on a porcelain tureen commissioned by Artes Magnus.
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