tablou francois boucher - pastoral landscape with girl
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Painter of landscapes, portraitist, designer of numerous stageset designs for opera and theatre, printmaker, tapestry-designer and, above all, the creator of myriad sexy mythological paintings, Boucher was for much of his career the pre-eminent artist of Paris – a man whose talents were avidly sought at court, becoming at the peak of his powers the favourite of the king’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour, who deluged him with opportunities to immortalise her beauty and advertise her longsuffering fidelity to her lover, Louis XV.
But the tides of taste turned against him during the last two decades of his life, when a new generation of self-consciously high-minded critics saw him as the epitome of a decadence and frivolity which – they feared – was emasculating the once-great nation of France.
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Geoffrin, Marie Therese – (1699 – 1777)
French woman of letters, literary patron and salonniere
Born Marie Therese Rodet in Paris (June 2, 1699), her father was a servant at Versailles in the household of the Dauphin Louis, eldest son of Louis XIV. She was raised and educated in the household of her maternal grandmother. Marie Therese was married (1713) to the rich glass factory manager, Francois Geoffrin (1665 – 1749), over thirty years her senior. Their only daughter, Marie Therese Geoffrin was later married to the Marquis de La Ferte-Imbault, and was a famous salonniere in her own right. With the death of her husband she was left an immense fortune, and established her salon at the Hotel de Rambouillet in Paris (1750) as the successor of Madame de Tencin, and was notable for forbidding the discussion of either religion or politics there, and received the famous painters Francois Boucher (1703 – 1770) and La Tour, as well as Helvetius, Marmontel, and the British antiquarian, Sir Horace Walpole. Madame Geoffrin was a patron of the Encyclopedistes, and was a financial supporter of their Encyclopedie (1751 – 1765). She corresponded with the Russian tsarina Catherine II. Marie Therese Geoffrin died (Oct 6, 1777) in Paris, aged seventy-eight.