Diana, the ancient goddess of hunting and wildlife, is the subject of several of Boucher's creations. This work, where Diana is resting with her companions, was initially used as an overdoor. The canvas was initially shaped to fit into a wooden panel but was enlarged to a rectangle at an unknown date to become an easel painting. Along with three other compositions now in the Wallace Collection in London and the County Museum in Los Angeles, it formed a series probably intended to decorate a private mansion. Boucher emphasised the decorative nature of the work through his extensive use of cold colours and dynamic curves. The supple, sensual bodies of the young women and suggestive waterfront detail, with its suave, subtle eroticism, are fully part of the master’s naturalistic language. In a similar vein, we may admire the still life placed on the left near the signature and comparable to those of Jean-Baptiste Oudry, a specialist in the still life genre and a friend of Boucher.
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Portrait presumed to be of Marie-Émilie Baudouin, the painter’s daughter, Vers 1758 1760