The Presentation in the Temple

The Presentation in the Temple

c. 1770

François Boucher

(French, 1703–1770)

Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, and black chalk, heightened with white paint; framing lines in pen and brown ink

Support: Cream(3) laid paper

Sheet: 32.3 x 20 cm (12 11/16 x 7 7/8 in.); Framed: 66 x 50.9 x 6.4 cm (26 x 20 1/16 x 2 1/2 in.)

Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1925.1005

Catalogue raisonné: Michel 819; Ananoff 651


Did you know?

This drawing was probably a sketch for an oil painting that Boucher was unable to complete before his death.


Late in his career, François Boucher adopted a drawing style characterized by strong pen lines and loosely brushed washes. This sheet, which dates from that period, depicts the blind priest Simeon, at left, who was promised that he would see the Messiah before his death. When the Christ child was brought into the temple near him, Simeon regained his sight. Boucher emphasized the miraculous event by showing divine light streaming down onto the priest from the dove above, which represents the Holy Spirit. The drawing is similar to an oil sketch (Louvre, Paris) that Boucher completed during the last year of his life -- one of the very last projects he ever completed.

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