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1911

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2011

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2019

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Drawing, Project for a Corner Motif of a Painted Ceiling, 1740

This is a Drawing. It was created by François Boucher. It is dated 1740 and we acquired it in 1911. Its medium is pen and brown ink, black chalk on thin tracing paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

A flying putto pulls a sheet over a design for a corner motif of a painted ceiling by the French academician and painter François Boucher. The date of 1740 locates this drawing alongside the artist’s other architectural drawings, which are rare and usually in pen and brown ink. This drawing, executed on tracing paper with graphite underdrawing, shows two nymphs seated on either side of an incense burner. In front, a naked youth and a robed woman are seated on the concave entablature. Several putti peek their head into the scene. The lack of iconographical emblems makes it difficult to figure out the allegory represented. The dynamic diagonals of their poses are reminiscent of Baroque decorations but when compared to Boucher’s architectural designs inspired by Annibale Caracci or Gilles-Marie Oppenord, this design is closer to the grand manner classicism exemplified in the interiors of Versailles. In fact, Boucher produced paintings for Versailles from 1735-6 and made drawings of figures in di sotto in sù (a type of extreme foreshortening) after ceiling paintings in Versailles by his old teacher François Lemoyne. The drawing, then, is likely a capriccio (an imaginary scene) that combines his studies after French and Italian interiors with Boucher’s own architectural imagination.

This object was donated by Advisory Council. It is credited Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council.

Its dimensions are

27.9 x 22.2 cm (11 x 8 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Drawing, Project for a Corner Motif of a Painted Ceiling, 1740; François Boucher (French, 1703–1770); France; pen and brown ink, black chalk on thin tracing paper; 27.9 x 22.2 cm (11 x 8 3/4 in.); Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council; 1911-28-3

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18171249/ |title=Drawing, Project for a Corner Motif of a Painted Ceiling, 1740 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 August 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>