The Departure of Jacob

The Departure of Jacob

c. 1755

François Boucher

(French, 1703-1770)

Pen and brown-black ink, brown ink wash, and red chalk wash, with black chalk on cream laid paper

Support: Cream(3) laid paper

Sheet: 34.8 x 23.1 cm (13 11/16 x 9 1/8 in.)

Delia E. Holden and L. E. Holden Funds 1981.58

Fun Fact

The gesture between the couple in this drawing -- in which the man offers the woman a pear -- is seen in several other works by François Boucher.

Description

François Boucher was known for romantic, idealized pastoral scenes and produced relatively few religious works. This drawing, however, is believed to relate to the Old Testament story in which Jacob travels to Canaan with his family. Boucher used a limited palette of brown, red, and black to create dramatic shadows and highlights. The family is seen basking in the dappled sunlight that illuminates the mother and her baby as they rest beneath a palm tree. The sheet may have served as a preparatory study for a similar painting by Boucher that is lost today and known only through a reproductive engraving by the printmaker Elisabeth Cousinet-Lempereur.

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