François Boucher’s “Putti” Paintings

François Boucher’s characteristically sumptuous and pastel-hued paintings take on a myriad of subjects, including portraits, mythology, landscapes, and genre paintings. Among the genres are his canvases of putti, or plump cherubs, as in L’amour moissonneur, or Cherub Harvesters. Boucher was particularly proud of these paintings. In 1735, the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture exhibited a small display of works by its members, including Boucher. Rather than choose his better-known portraits or nudes, Boucher exhibited “four little pieces, depicting the four Seasons in the shape of little women and children,” according to the newspaper Mercure de France. These paintings were extraordinarily popular, or “found very fine, as much for their striking color, modeling, and brushwork, as for their charming conception.”

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