When Marie-Jeanne Buzeau (1716–after 1786) posed so pertly for this informal portrait ten years after her marriage to Boucher, she was twenty-seven and the mother of three children. She frequently served as model for her husband, and in later life she painted miniature reproductions of his more popular pictures and made engravings after his drawings. Besides offering such a candid image of the artist’s wife, the portrait provides a fascinating glimpse of a room in the apartment to which Boucher had moved the year before he signed this canvas on the rue de Grenelle-Saint-Honoré. The porcelain figurine and tea service on the hanging étagère reflect Boucher’s taste for the Oriental bric-a-brac so fashionable throughout the eighteenth century. In its composition the portrait is a witty parody of the classical Renaissance depictions of Venus by Giorgione and Titian, and as such the picture has acquired the sobriquet “Boucher's Untidy Venus.”

Source: Art in The Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.


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