Francois Boucher and the Libran Ideal

Libra people typically have very little use for realism. While the “realistic” Virgos and Scorpios are busy pointing on everything that is banal and ugly in life, Libra focuses on the beautiful. Yes, sometimes that beauty is hard find, and often it is disappointingly ephemeral. But that only makes the ability of the Libra person to see it more precious. For Libra, one fleeting touch of beauty can overwhelm a lifetime full of ugly realities.

That’s why I see Francois Boucher as the perfect Libra artist. He lived during the 18th Century, a time full of ugly realities: war, starvation, religious conflict and disease. And yet, his paintings are filled with harmonious beauty.

There are no ugly people in Boucher’s paintings (unless you count his self-portrait). He paints an ideal world full of well-fed maidens who lounge naked in the out-of-doors without fear of thorns or biting insects. These lovely creatures are surrounded by objects that communicate opulence and by plumb, winged putty who attend to their needs. (Click here to see a gallery of Boucher’s paintings.)

Love is often the subject of Boucher’s work. If he wasn’t painting images of Venus (the goddess of love), he was depicting some sexy rendezvous between two gods, or a god and a comely mortal. It is said that Boucher’s most important patron, Madame Pompadour, used Boucher’s paintings to keep her lover, King Louis XV, “in the mood” so to speak.

There is an erotic quality to Boucher’s paintings, but it is an eroticism that is so polite and devoid of animal passion that only the most prudish could consider it pornographic. It is eroticism for the mind, rather than the body. And for Louis XV, who had both the Sun and Mars in the cool, intellectual Air sign, Aquarius, they struck exactly the right note.

This is the other Libran quality about the art of Boucher. He was an artist who very much in tune with the sensibilities of his time. Like many Libras, he had a keen understanding of the society in which he lived and what would appeal to the people of that society. Some Libra’s use this special awareness to criticize the social order into which they are born. Boucher used it to celebrate that social order.

Of course, the fact the Boucher’s work was so much a representation of his times didn’t always work in his favor. When the age of royal privilege was replaced by the French Revolution, Boucher’s sexy little paintings were subjected to a damning reappraisal. Fortunately, the artist’s work survived this change in opinions and can now be seen in museums across the world.

I am not providing a horoscope for Francois Boucher because I am not sure if the birthday I have for him, Sept. 29, 1703, is according to the old Julian calendar of the modern Gregorian style. In either case, he was born with the Sun in Libra. And, in either case, he was born, not to show us what real in this world, but the beautiful ideals that make that reality endurable.

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