Shepherd and Shepherdess is one of two works by Boucher commissioned by Caroline Louise, Margravine of Baden. A passionate art collector, the margravine had very clear ideas of what she wanted and asked Boucher to paint not just people but also a couple of animals. The artist complied with her request, placing a sheep to the left of the seated couple and a dog, symbol of fidelity, on the right. The shepherd and his companion rest beneath a tree in a lush park. Behind them is a fountain with stone putti and a water-spewing dolphin. The creamy-skinned figure of the young woman contrasts charmingly with the suntanned face of her companion and his red cloak. The lovers turn towards each other in tender intimacy; he is picking roses to fill her basket, while she rests against him, watching his loving gesture with a dreamy expression. Boucher also catered to the margravine’s preference for ‘fine’ (fijnschilder) painting, treating his figures a little less fluidly and freely than was his wont. Caroline Louise, an accomplished artist herself, produced a red-chalk drawing of a woman reading, using the face of the shepherdess as a model.


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