Adoration of the Shepherds, ca. 1761–62
Pen and brown ink, brown and red wash, brown and black chalk, heightened with white chalk, worked wet, over traces of black chalk, on pink-prepared paper
11 3/8 x 14 5/8 inches (289 x 371 mm)
Of the artists who defined French art under the ancien régime, Boucher was perhaps the most prolific. This powerfully illumined sheet unites his lyrical sensibility for religious subjects and the complex experimentation with media and techniques that characterizes works from the last decade of his career. The subject is an unusual combination of a Nativity and an Adoration of the Shepherds and appears to be one of several explorations of nocturnal scenes dating after 1755.