Toilet of Venus

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Boucher, Toilet of Venus, 1751
By MADELINE VASQUEZ

In early 18th century Paris, Rococo style art began. Delicate colors and curvy lines surrounded the painting, making it extremely masterful. Concepts of love, nature, goddesses, and youth, bring about the complexities of the ornamental arts of the Rococo period. Although not everyone may be interested or intrigued by this form of art, each one has depth and meaning behind it. One of the most amazing artists of this time was Francois Boucher. The feeling that people get when looking at his art is utter amazement, and you will hopefully feel the same.

Boucher is known for his pleasant, sensual paintings that usually revolve around pastoral scenes and exquisite goddesses. His mythological scenery depicts such passion and emotion that you feel what he is painting through expression, no matter the emotion in it. His paintings have a sense of theatrical staging as if you were looking at a staged show. This layout is captivating and makes the painting more enjoyable to look at and costly.

In Toilet of Venus, created in 1751, Boucher depicts the mythological scene of the Goddess of Love. This painting contains Venus sitting on a stage, with a natural backdrop, surrounded by cherubs admiring her and playing with jewelry and ornaments that are tumbling over the edge of the stage. This represents the concept of luxury which draws wealthy buyers in because they are able to relate to the painting more so than others. The pastel and soft colors make the Toilet of Venus overall harmonious and delicate, but also detailed. The body of Venus and her cherubs are soft and playful. The intricately folded red velvet and golden couch, silk, and drapery are beautiful and eye catching. When looking at this painting you feel peace and tranquility, but also empowered in the sense of richness.

Personally, I would see this painting appealing to wealthy women in this day in age. It could be given as a gift that could be greatly admired in a luxurious bedroom or bathroom. Thus, relating to Boucher painting this for Madame de Pompadour, for a series of panels for her bathroom. Knowing a sophisticated woman as herself would want Boucher, one of her favorite artists, to paint for her, is in itself a reason that this painting is worth buying.

Editor's Note: The authors were asked to write sales copy for Edme-François Gersaint, the prominent rococo art dealer who offered a printed catalog of available works.

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