François Boucher (French, 17031770)
Black chalk, brush and gray wash, heightened with white chalk, on beige paper; 8 1/4 x 9 3/8 in. (21.1 x 23.7 cm)
Gift of Charles K. Lock, 1960 (60.175.1)
This sheet demonstrates Boucher's great facility with chalk as a medium for figure studies. Black and white are applied softly, allowing the grain of the beige paper to show through. With this technique, the plump forms of the putti are softly modeled with white highlights, suggesting the fall of sunlight on the foreground putto holding the wreath. This sheet is one of several studies related to Apollo Revealing His Divinity to Issé (1750, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours), a large mythological painting in which swirls of frolicking putti encircle the main figural group.