Francois Boucher (29 September 1703 - 30 May 1770 was one of the most important and prolific artists of the Rococo period.
Boucher was a French artist born in Paris in 1703. From an early age he was a student of the early Rococo artist François Lemoyne until 1721 when he began working as an engraver. In 1723 Boucher won the Prix de Rome, an illustrious art scholarship to study in Rome that Boucher's teacher, Francois Lemoyne, also won in 1711. He didn't go to Rome immediately, and continued working as an engraver for Laurent Cars for 300 francs a year, and then traveled to Italy 4 years later in 1727 at his own expense.
Upon his return to France he was elected to the Royal Academy where he had much success. He was soon Rector of the Academy, and head of the Royal Gobelins Manufactory in 1755 and "First Painter to the King" in 1765. He was a favorite of the influential mistress of the king Mme de Pompadour, and excelled in painting many of her portraits. Boucher had also painted at least one erotic portrait of another of the King's mistresses, Marie-Louise O'Murphy, in a pose that has become very familiar with Boucher, known as the "Blonde Odalisque". He made several paintings in this series including the "Brown Odalisque" whose model is thought to be Boucher's wife.
Many of Francois Boucher's early nudes were tangled up in mythological allegory to avoid criticism though as can be seen from his "Odelisques" and other works transitioned to more open eroticism.