Painting in the Spotlight

François Boucher: Diana Leaving the Bath – 1742

Paris, Musée du Louvre

Boucher was a master of playful eroticism. His works for the French court were designed to titillate; yet they always maintain a light, almost innocent tone, regardless of the numbers of nubile girls and cavorting couples that fill his canvases. He also produced a large body of more homely work, depicting stylish, wealthy households engaged in domestic life. But it is for the lively fleshy scenes like this one that Boucher is most celebrated.

Here we have a beautiful Diana, goddess of the hunt and the moon, assisted at her bath by a lovely nymph. Instead of the more typical Diana – who is often depicted as a strong, bow-wielding huntress – Boucher presents a charmingly innocent girl, unabashedly nude. Diana’s bow and arrows lie on the ground beside her next to a grouping of hare and birds, evidence of a successful hunt (though it is difficult to imagine how this sweet soft Diana could even handle such a bow). Her hunting dogs drink from a stream in ...

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This site presents a selection of the best western art, initially concentrating on the cities of Paris, London, New York. This is a work in progress - new material is added all the time. We hope that our current selection will give you some inspiration for further exploration. The paintings are personal choices by the contributors and are drawn only from collections that are open to the public.

Header Painting - "Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight" by JMW Turner - National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, USA

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