Pastorale: The Vegetable Vendor, ca. 1735
Oil on canvas
Love was the presiding theme of French rococo art, and painter François Boucher paid lavish homage to rococo romance in his idealized countryside scenes called pastorales. He created these bucolic images using a ravishing palette and buttery brushwork, and as in all of Boucher's pastorales, The Vegetable Vendor presents a rural paradise, the perfect setting for the blossoming of youthful love. Boucher’s image of natural abundance is filled with coded symbols that allude to the joy of love. Indeed, as the boy offers his wares to the kitchen maid, it is understood that he is offering his heart as well.