Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist and Angels

François Boucher French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 631

Boucher’s skill as a history painter is evident in this intimate, meticulously painted devotional image that might at first be mistaken for a pastoral subject. It subtly integrates a casually arranged bunch of grapes symbolizing the Eucharist with a lamb, the attribute of John the Baptist, who is envisaged as a little boy draped in an animal skin. The infant Christ’s penetrating gaze, framed by a brilliant aureole of light, lends the painting solemnity and focus. This painting was executed in 1765, the year Boucher rose to directorship of the French Royal Academy.

Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist and Angels, François Boucher (French, Paris 1703–1770 Paris), Oil on canvas

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