Inspired by Watteau and his fêtes galantes, outdoor musical scenes were hugely popular in 18th century French painting and often contained romantic undertones.
Surely music, with its impassioned intonations, pregnant pauses and captivating rhythms, must be the language of love? Here, Boucher plays on this metaphor with his finely dressed pair of musicians. The lady, sight-reading from a score, sings as the man plays chords on his guitar. The concert is taking place in a lush natural setting, with a statue of a sphinx and a fountain topped with putti – motifs borrowed from the decoration found in contemporary gardens.