Jean Baptiste Pillement
Idyllic Landscape, c. 1760
graphite on paper
27.1 x 42.3 cm Image: 26.8 x 42 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Along with artists such as François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jean Baptiste Pillement was a major contributor to the development of the decorative landscape in French Rococo painting. His landscapes can be identified by their decorative flourishes and graceful details, mirroring eighteenth-century French taste for rustic charm and refined naturalism. In the WAG drawing, Pillement shows a charming country scene in which three boys are resting on a bridge. The presence of a few sheep on the left bank of the river suggest that one of the boys is a shepherd, perhaps seeking directions. The presentation of costumed figures in rustic dress, elaborate foliage and tree formations, and architectural elements are characteristic of the Rococo style. Also present are references to chinoiserie, an artistic trend popular in France and England in the eighteenth century, whereby artists appropriated images and decorative elements from Chinese art for their designs.