François Boucher: The Love Letter - Street Art Museum Tours

François Boucher: The Love Letter

Whether you’re a hopeless romantic on Valentine’s Day or you see it as a fake holiday, chances are you have someone in your life that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. For us, art is what we love most. So, to celebrate our love affair with art, we’re exploring one of our favorite famous French Rococo art, “The Love Letter” by François Boucher, currently residing in the National Gallery of Art DC.

A Bit About Francois Boucher

Self-Portrait of François Boucher famous Rococo French Painter

François Boucher (29 September 1703 - 30 May 1770) was a French painter, draughtsman, and etcher, who worked in the Rococo style. He is know for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes, decorative allegories, and pastoral scenes. He has been the most celebrated painter and decorative artist of the Rococo style.

What is the Rococo Characteristics?

Example of Rococo Style
Das Maedchen mit dem Vogelkaefig by Francois Boucher

Rococo art characteristics include elaborate ornamentation, subdued pastel colors, and curved lines. Rococo themes were also often mystical, youthful, and romantic. Boucher’s art features all of these qualities.

Considered one of the best French painters of his time, his work is idyllic and tranquil, taking cues from Masters like Peter Paul Rubens and incorporating stunning natural landscapes.

Still, Boucher was more than a painter. He also dabbled in drafting, theatrical costumes and sets, as well as tapestries. But, it’s undeniable that his work with the paintbrush is his finest.

The Women of the Rococ Style

Boucher’s paintings often feature beautiful women and scandalous attitude
Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher

Boucher’s paintings often feature beautiful women and a subtle eroticism mixed in with ethereal and mystical undertones. His portfolio is brimming with passion and intimacy, making him a perfect fit for Valentine’s Day with this incredible piece of Rococo art.

subtle eroticism mixed in with ethereal and mystical undertones.
Jupitor and Callisto by François Boucher

Closer Looks of “The Love Letter”

“The Love Letter” is actually known by many names, including “The Two Confidantes”, “The Messenger”, “The Lovers’ Secret Mail”, and “The Beloved Sheep”. Still, we prefer (as many others agree) its most recognized title, “The Love Letter”.

Women in the Rococo style

The Rococo painting depicts two young women, presumably shepherdesses as evidenced by the sheep and dog in the background. However, instead of tending to their pasture, they sit beneath a stone lion with a loving aloofness in their eyes as they prepare a carrier pigeon to send a love letter.

Powdery soft skin and voluminous textures all set among a lush environment; These are the common pillars in much of Boucher’s work. And the dazed gaze of daydreaming in the gorgeous countryside reminds us all of that feeling of being in love.

neglected sheep and dog Rococo style Passenger Pigeon with Love Letter

For modern onlookers, “The Love Letter” also points out that falling in love and staying in love was quite different in the 18th century -- only able to send a letter by pigeon with plenty of free time to pine for your beloved.

Now, with our text messages and instant video calls, our loved ones are never too far away.

Still, love never changes when you get to the root of it. And this painting, with its romantic colors and ethereal presence, it’s the perfect piece for Valentine’s Day. One can’t help but allow their hearts to soften when viewing this stunning work of art.

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