“Cospetto! Che bella cosa!” My what a beautiful thing: Boucher’s Triumph of Venus in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

It is generally acknowledged that Boucher’s Triumph of Venus, painted in the summer of 1740 for Count Carl Gustaf Tessin, is the artist’s greatest mythological painting. Brilliant and ambitious in conception and organization, its complex interlocking figures modeled with supreme assurance, this large-scale cabinet picture constitutes Boucher’s signal achievement.

Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library & Museum, traces Boucher’s process in the elaboration of his masterpiece, examines the tradition of marine mythologies from Raphael to Poussin and beyond, and considers some of the textual and pictorial sources which may have inspired the painter. He will also focus on Boucher’s relationship with his urbane patron Tessin, their shared interest in rococo ornament, and their passion for conchology— the collecting and display of shells.

Presented on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.