Trop verte et mal éclairé

French painter François Boucher was born on September 29, 1703. Synonymous with the Roccoco style of rosy, round nudes, nature scenes, and charming domestic interiors, Boucher also often painted his patroness, Madame de Pompadour, the mistresses of Louis XV.

Portrait of Madame Pompadour

Portrait of Madame Pompadour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boucher won the prestigious Prix de Rome at the age of 20. When he returned from his time abroad, he became member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and he
later joined the faculty. He became the king’s official painter. His highly erotic Odalisque paintings, for which his wife posed nude, exposed Boucher to the criticism that he was prostituting her. A much tamer family portrait shows the artist’s family having breakfast – all of them fully dressed, this time.

Today’s saying, trop verte et mal eclairé (trow vehrt aymal ay-clare-ay) is a Boucher saying that means “too green and badly lit.” This was Boucher’s harsh evaluation of the natural world. I hope he would approve of the lighting where his paintings hang in the Louvre, the Alte Pinakothek, Berlin, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, among other museums around the world.

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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