François Boucher (French, 17031770)
Oil on canvas; 25 x 31 7/8 in. (63.5 x 81 cm)
The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982 (1982.60.44)
Although the view here is of the Farnese gardens in Rome, the date on the painting, 1734, reveals that it was painted in Boucher's Paris studio, about three years after he returned from Italy. Boucher's description of the buildings and distant scenery follow closely a drawing he made in Italy (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris). However, the foreground has been transformed by the addition of two cowherds that have been shown to be close adaptations of figures Boucher knew from drawings by Abraham Bloemaert (15661651) which he would etch the following year. Thus, even in this early canvas, Boucher shows himself to be adept at piecing together disparate stylistic sources to create what is essentially a capriccio, as charming as it is artificial.