Art Friday: Madame de Pompadour

Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour
29 December 1721 – 15 April 1764

A member of the French court and was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to 1751, when she then became and remained a close friend and confidant to the king until her death. She was born in Paris, France, and died there from tuberculosis at 42.

Madame de Pompadour, though best remembered as mistress to the king, was in fact a patron of the arts, science and literature; she sponsored many painters, sculptors, architects, furniture craftsmen, interior designers and writers, including Voltaire. She facilitated the development of Sèvres, which soon became one of the largest manufacturers of porcelain in Europe and provided many high-paying jobs to its district.  She exerted a strong influence over the development of the Rococo style, and advised the King on matters ranging from art to foreign policy. 

Portrait by François Boucher, 1756

Francois Boucher was a prolific painter in all genres as well as a designer for the theatre, and for tapestries, book illustrations and porcelain figures. His first commission for the king was in 1735. The king's mistress, Madame de Pompadour, was Boucher's chief patron from 1750 until her death in 1764.
Madame de Pompadour, pastel by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, shown at the Paris Salon, 1755 (Louvre)

Madam de Pomadour at her Tambour Frame bt Francois-Hubert Drouais

The painting shows the one-time mistress of Louis XV in the last year of her life. The canvas is signed and dated on the work-table as begun in April 1763. The head, painted on a rectangle of canvas inserted into the painting, was presumably taken from life, and the rest of the picture completed in May 1764, the month after the death of Madame de Pompadour. 

by François-Hubert Drouais.

The apartment of Madame de Pompadour


  1. I wonder if she ever exercised with all those clothes? Or breathed? Poor woman - no wonder so many of them died young!!!

    1. Perhaps that is why they didn't do very much as it was just too hard to move about. Did you notice the size of her bed, it isn't very big at all, so perhaps she was a small woman.


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