The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Cupid a Captive
  • François Boucher (1703 - 1770)
  • Cupid a Captive
  • France
  • probably c.1754
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 164.5 x 84.5 cm
  • Signature: 'f. Boucher.'
  • P432
  • Oval Drawing Room
Further Reading
  • In Anacreon’s Ode XXX, Love Captive, relates how, when captured and bound with flowers by the Muses, Cupid, ‘becoming accustomed to his sweet captivity, preferred servitude to the charms of freedom’, so that even Venus herself was unable to tempt him away from his charming captors.
    Although undated, Cupid a Captive was probably painted at about the same time as the other three vertical mythological panels by Boucher in the Wallace Collection, c.1754 (P429, P438 and P444). Its subject does not conform to the Venus imagery of the other three pictures. The handling and composition are slightly different and the cleaning of the other works revealed that this painting was originally conceived on a slightly larger scale than the other three pictures: In the nineteenth century, their width was extended to combine all four paintings as a cycle and use them for a screen.