Description of Francois Boucher's painting “Jupiter and Callisto”

At the beginning of the eighteenth century in France, the most popular style in art was Rococo. Rococo is characterized by the image of luxury, satiety, an abundance of decorative elements, whimsical forms. Paintings at that time served mainly as an interior decoration. The characters were portrayed like porcelain figurines; at the same time, lush, sensual forms are typical of bodies in paintings. The scenes of paintings are most often pastoral. As a background, picturesque lawns bordered by trees and bushes are most often used; a river or stream is also an essential element of the landscape.

Francois Boucher was the most prominent artist of the Rococo era. In addition to painting, he created sketches for painting porcelain and tapestries, was fond of sculpture, created engravings, painted interiors. All his works are characterized by light pink, blue and pale green tones.

The plot of the picture is taken from the ancient Roman myth. According to legend, the god Jupiter was inflamed with passion for the nymph Callisto, and in order not to scare her, he appeared in front of the desired girl in the guise of the goddess Diana. In a female form, God tried to seduce Callisto. The nymph, being a companion of Diana, accompanied her on a hunt and therefore was not surprised at the appearance of the lady. So Jupiter was able to seduce the beloved, who vowed virginity. The myth was widely known to French society thanks to the Ovid Metamorphoses.

Boucher portrayed two flirting girls against the backdrop of a pastoral landscape; a group of cupids performs a decorative task, outwardly resembling a wreath or a flower garland. In the young heroines there is nothing divine or majestic; most likely, the artist quite accurately conveyed the appearance of the French model, posing for the work. It is generally accepted that the beauty of such paintings can only be appreciated in the respective interiors, of which they were a part.

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