OIL PAINTING: The Rape of Europa, 1732-1734
Diderot bitterly attacked Boucher. All Diderot's fury about falseness, lack of observation of nature, corruption of morals, loses its relevance before the finest products of Boucher paintings. His mythological world was more frankly feminine, and more accessible, than Tiepolo's; it hardly tries to astonish the spectator, and its magic is no exciting spell but a slow beguilement of the senses, a lulling tempo by which it is always afternoon in the gardens of Armida. There is no clash of love and duty, no public audience, and with barely the presence of men (Boucher increasingly could hardly be bothered to delineate them at all). But this does not automatically mean frivolity. Especially in the years up to and about 1750, Boucher's own artistic and actual vigour combined to produce a whole range of mythological paintings , one of which is The Rape of Europa , which were decorative, superbly competent, and tinged with their own vein of poetry.