The Chinese Garden

7:00 AM

Boucher, The Chinese Garden, 1742

While scanning the page of Boucher's masterpieces, I stumbled across this beauty and wondered, How does this painting belong with the others? Why are there such rad colors in this and not the others? Where can I buy that sweet orange hat? What is up with that guy's hair? The more I looked at this, the more I fell in love with it, and the more interesting it became.

When I looked closely at this painting I realized that there were some aspects that were typical of a Boucher, while there were other aspects that were unique to this painting. This change represents Boucher's transition from his traditional work to the chinoiserie style. For example, what initially drew me to this painting was the vibrant blues and oranges. The use of these colors immediately made me realize that this painting was unlike many of the others that Boucher painted, as he traditionally used more pastel colors with intricate gold work. In addition, the background of the painting seems like it could stand alone as a Chinese landscape rather than a lush forest.


The theme of the painting, on the other hand, remained the same. Like many of Boucher's paintings, there is a highlighted woman being pampered. Although there are no distinct rays of light or shadows to draw the eye to one particular person; however, the woman having flowers put into her hair is obviously significant because of how pale her skin is. The lightness of the skin seems to increase with the ranks of the people painted. One detail I thought was interesting was the fact that even though this painting is of a Chinese garden, the women of focus in the painting are wearing clothes that resemble the European women's clothes that Boucher painted in other works. Another similarity in this work is the level of fancy "fluff" in the painting. The flowers put in the woman's hair are similar to the jewels that surround many other women that Boucher painted. 


At first glance, it seems as though this painting does not fit with many of Boucher's other famous works, but in reality, many details stay true to Boucher's traditional style, while others were slightly influenced by the new chinoiserie craze.


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