François Boucher (French, 17031770)
Brown chalk; 13 5/8 x 8 7/8 in. (34.5 x 22.7 cm)
Gift of Mrs. O'Donnell Hoover, 1960 (60.176.2)
Boucher depicts here a well-known story from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit, was so devoted to her orchards that she took no notice of suitors. The god Vertumnus transformed himself into the form of a ragged old woman to gain her confidence. Boucher was fond of the subject and had already portrayed it on several occasions, including an overdoor for the royal Château de la Muette in 1749, a design for the Beauvais tapestry manufactory in 1757, and within an oval medallion for the Gobelins tapestries woven beginning in 1764 for Croome Court. In his virtuouso manner of handling the chalk, Boucher is here akin to Jean-Honoré Fragonard, his most famous student.