Oil on canvas showing a gallant scene in a landscape of ruins. The man hangs a garland of flowers to a young shepherd woman. At her feet can be seen her three sheeps, her hat, her cane and a bunch of flowers. Hidden behind the ruins, a young boy is watching the scene.
This painting is a copy of the Pasteur Galant painted by François Boucher for the courtroom of Prince Hercules-Mériadec, Duke of Rohan, at the ground floor of the hotel Soubise.In 1732, Prince Hercules-Mériadec, Duke of Rohan, got married for the second time at more than sixty years and decided to mark the event by asking Boffrand to transform the hotel built by his father a generation earlier. Boffrand’s task was to build a house containing two oval lounges, one for the prince and another for the new princess and the transformation of adjacent apartments.The salon's painted decor of the princess and the top doors of other rooms were assigned to the most influent contemporary painters: Natoire, Boucher, Carle Van Loo, and Restout Trémolières.Natoire received the most prestigious command: the decor of the oval room of the princess and Boucher was commissioned to provide seven really different top doors fitting well with the diversity of his talents: mythological scenes, pastorals and even a simple landscape. Though, it seems that Boucher was not the first choice for this decoration: the other artists exhibited their works at the Salon of 1737, year when the annual Salon was restored, while Boucher waited the Salon of 1738.The two top doors, the Pasteur Galant and the Pasteur Complaisant were the novelty of the decor painted by François Boucher at the Hotel de Soubise and engravings were supposed to increase their influence. These two pictures are the first pastorals that were kept. The term pastoral has here the same meaning as the one used for the French painting in the 18th century to describe idealized scenes of love life of shepherds and shepherdess. This so new subject was not really commented at that time. It is probably because it appeared in a private residence and because the paintings were not exposed publicly. When these pictures were mentioned in the guides, Boucher had already painted enough pastorals to have blurred the novelty.
Bibliography: François Boucher: 1703 - 1770, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 18 septembre 1986 - 5 janvier 1987, p 176.
Dim: W: 36,6 in - D: 1,6in - H: 38,6in.
Dim: L:93cm, P:4cm, H:98cm.
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