François Boucher
The Virgin and Child

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    • Oil on Canvas, 1770
    • 17 x 13 3/4 (oval) inches
    • San Francisco Museum of Art

I have included this religious painting of the virgin and child to show that the sophisticated and entirely worldly Boucher was not above accepting commissions with a religious theme. But what he does with it is quite another question.

Far from being an inspiring picture of the Virgin Mother, Boucher gives us an innocent young girl, and a rather rowdy baby. The symbolism so ubiquitous in such scenes are reduced to flowing robes, and the rose which the child clutches in his hand.

While it might be an exaggeration, this painting is clearly the Enlightenment's version of one of Christianity's most treasured images.

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