Typically, the first woman was his wife, Marie-Jeanne Buseau, who was not without a great degree of artistic talent on her own. She often served as both model and studio assistant. The second was probably even more crucial to his career, and certainly more powerful where it counted. She was Madame de Pompadour, something of an amateur artist herself, a major supporter, and generous patron. More importantly, of course, she was also the mistress of the king, Louis XV. But Boucher's career was not without a good foundation. He'd studied under Watteau, though strangely, it seems he never actually met the man. His early art education consisted of making engravings of the master's work. In 1724 he won the prestigious Prix de Rome, a sort of artistic scholarship to study free of charge at the French Academy in Rome.
|Le Dejeuner, 1739, Francois Boucher|