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    Curated: Companions of Diana

    In the Legion of Honor Permanent Collection

    Francois Boucher, the quintessential artist of the rococo, dominated the fine and decorative arts throughout Northern Europe in the eighteenth century. This oval painting belongs to a set of four over-doors from a suite of five pastoral scenes.

    It was first documented in the collection of Gregory Gregory of Harlaxton Manor, Lincolnshire, England. He scoured Europe to furnish his opulent Victorian mansion. This canvas was displayed in an elaborate gilt-and-white frame, forming part of Harlaxton’s decoration from 1834 to 1937.

    In their decorative schemes, eighteenth century artists drew inspiration from classical mythology to celebrate the glory of love and to weave charming fables that lent an air of gaiety and make-believe to the interiors of aristocratic residences. Previously idealized, voluptuous womanhood was replaced with the slender, feminine forms that personify those featured of the Companions of Diana.

    Boucher’s consummate skill as a decorator is evident here in his assured draftsmanship, imaginative treatment of landscape and still life, and rich, vibrant color harmonies. Boucher made a beautiful drawing of the reclining nymph in Companions of Diana, subsequently engraved, and several copies of this painting testify to the success of the composition. | @deyoungmuseum