Images of the past

A chronologue of beauty

Friday, 20 April 2012

Madame de Pompadour,Images of a Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was one of the most influential women of the XVIII century,right along with Empresses Maria Theresa of Austria and Catherine the Great of Russia.This is illustrated in an anecdote that Emperor Frederick II of Prussia,not known for his love of women,had three of his favorite female dogs named after the three women.Madame de Pompadour was also one of the most painted and portrayed women of her day,her portraits sculptures and objets-d'art grace many museums around the world.She meddled in politics but was more successful when she involved herself in supporting the arts.Her most enduring legacy is the foundation of the Sevres porcelain factory and her support of Francois Boucher,her favorite artist who painted flattering portraits and decorated the walls of her chateaus.Madame de Pompadour was born into a bourgeois Paris family ,her mother was the beautiful Madeleine de La Motte and she was probably fathered by one of her mother's lovers.When she was a little girl a clairvoyant had predicted that she would rise to a great position,almost a Queen.Therefore she was known as Reinette or "Little Queen".She met the King of France at the Yew Tree Ball in 1745 and the King was instantly smitten with the pretty young woman.Soon after she was presented at court,given the Marquisate of Pompadour.The new Marquise moved into a sumptuous apartment at Versailles,which had previously been occupied by Louis XIV's mistress Madame de Montespan,and was right below the King's rooms and connected to them by a secret staircase.She adored the King and longed for children with him but all her pregnancies ended in miscarriages although she had one daughter,Alexandrine,with her husband and the King adored her acted as a stepfather.The little girl had a glittering career in front of her and the greatest nobles in France were vying for her hand.Sadly the little girl died aged only ten and Madame de Pompadour never got over her death although she had to hide her feelings since it was her job to amuse the King and keep him cheerful.She was a frigid woman and never enjoyed the sexual side of the relationship,the King was heard to observe "I have acquired a cold seabird".Therefore the Parc-aux-Cerfs was founded, a place where young nubile women were kept for the pleasure of the King.Their sexual relationship ended completely sometime in the 1751 and it is to her great testament that she remained in her role as a royal mistress until her death fourteen years later without performing that most important duty of the mistress.The Marquise instead became the King's greatest friend and to illustrate her new position she had sculptures made representing her as friendship.She out of all people that surrounded the King was able to tell him the truth and the King greatly valued her opinion,enjoyed her conversation and went to her apartments rigorously every day.She amused him by acting in plays,performing operettas,telling amusing stories and listed carefully to the King's endless retelling of hunting anecdotes.She went out hunting with the King,attended parties and functions,played long card games,received ministers and petitioners and was always kept on her toes by young ladies who wished to replace her.She felt that her life was a perpetual struggle and the life at the vicious court of Versailles  took a great toll the Marquise's fragile health.She died a painful death,probably form lung cancer,at age of forty three and the King accorded her the honor allowing  her die at the palace of Versailles an honor reserved only for members of the Royal Family.Marie-Antoinette played at the Petit Trianon thanks to the marquise as it was built for her as a present from the King but she died too soon to be able to enjoy it.Today the President of France lives in one of  her houses,the beautiful and grand Elysee palace,which the King bought for the Marquise in 1753 as her Paris residence.Her name is synonymous with luxury,beauty and the rococo.The saying "After us the deluge" is ascribed to her but whether she really said it or not it is a good indicator that her age was the height of luxury and excess that couldn't go on much further.


Madame de Pompadour as Diana the Huntress.1746 by Jean Mark Nattier

                   
Madame de Pompadour,1748 Jean Mark Nattier

Madame de Pompadour,1748 Nattier

Madame de Pompadour with a muff,1748 by Nattier

Madame de Pompadour,1749-50 by Boucher

Madame de Pompadour at a clavischord,1750 by Francois Boucher

Madame de Pompadour at a clavischord;det.

Madame de Pompadour at a claviscord,1750 by Boucher

Madame de Pompadour at a claviscord,det.


Madame de Pompadour at her dressing table,1750 by Francois Boucher

Madame de Pompadour at her dressing table;det.

Madame de Pompadour at her dressing table;det.

Madame de Pompadour as Diana,1752 by Jean Marc Nattier

Madame de Pompadour as a Sultana being served coffee ,1752 by Charles Andre van Loo

Madame de Pompadour as a Sultana being served coffee;det

Madame de Pompadour as a Sultana at her tapestry,1752 by Charles Andre van Loo

Madame de Pompadour as a Sultana at her tapestry;det.

Portrait of Madame de Pompadour by an artist of the French School,1751-55

Madame de Pompadour,c. 1753 Liotard

Madame de Pompadour,c. 1753 Boucher

    Madame de Pompadour and her brother Abel Francois Marquis de Marigny;1754 Roslin

Madame de Pompadour as Hebe,c. 1754 Circle of Charles Andre van Loo

Madame de Pompadour as La Belle Jardiniere,1754-55 Carle van Loo

Madame de Pompadour,1755 Maurice Quentin de La Tour

Madame de Pompadour;det.

Madame de Pompadour,1756 Boucher

Madame de Pompadour,1756 Boucher

Madame de Pompadour;det.

Madame de Pompadour,1756 Boucher 


Madame de Pompadour in a Garden,1758 Boucher

Madame de Pompadour in a Garden,1758 Boucher

Madame de Pompadour at her Toilette,1758 Francois Boucher

Madame de Pompadour at her Toilette;det. of a bracelet with a cameo of Louis XV

The cameo of Louis XV that Mme.de Pompadour is wearing on her bracelet

An allegorical portrait of Madame de Pompadour,1740-60

Madame de Pompador standing in a garden,1759 Francois Boucher

Madame de Pompador standing in a garden;det.

Madame de Pompadour as La  Belle Jardiniere;c. 1760 Drouais

Madame de Pompadour as a Vestal Virgin,1762 Drouais

Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame;1763-64 Francois Huber Drouais

Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame;det.

Madame de Pompadour with a Muff;1763-64 Drouais

Madame de Pompadour with a Muff;1760 Drouais

The toilet of Venus,1746 by Boucher;Venus is possibly a portrait of Madame de Pomadour

Venus by Boucher,the face of Venus is thought to be of Madame de Pompadour

Apollo revealing his divinity to Issa,Boucher

Apollo reveling his divinity to Issa,det;Issa's face said to be of Madame de Pompadour

Pastel of Madame de Pompadour as a Pilgrim,1745 Louis Vigee

Pastel of Madame de Pompadour as Hebe by Rosalba Carriera

Pastel drawing of Madame de Pompadour,Bonnet after Boucher

Study of Madame de Pompadour's face,c. 1752 by Maurice de la Tour

Study of Madame de Pompadour's face,c. 1753 by de la Tour

Study of Madame de Pompadour's face,c. 1753 by de la Tour

Study of Madame de Pompadour's face,c. 1753 by Maurice de la Tour

Madame de Pompadour in profile,c. 1753 Liotard

Madame de Pompadour and her daughter Alexandrine,sketch by Guerin in 1753


Madame de Pompadour and her daughter Alexandrine,c. 1753 Francois Guerin

Pastel of Madame de Pompadour,1754 Boucher

Madame de Pompadour as a Shepherdess,Maurice de la Tour

Performance of Acis et Galatee by Madame de Pompadour,1749 Cochin

Performance of Acis et Galatee by Madame de Pompadour;det

Sketch of Madame de Pompadour,1746 de La Tour

Sketch of Madame de Pompadour,Gilles Demarteau after Boucher

Sketch of Madame de Pompadour,Gilles Demarteau after Boucher

Sketch of Madame de Pompadour by Boucher

Sketch of Madame de Pompadour by Boucher

Madame de Pompadour and her daughter Alexandrine,,drawing by Francois Guerin

Madame de Pompadour and her daughter Alexandrine,drawing by Francois Guerin

Madame de Pompadour as a Shepherdess,sketch by van Loo

Engraving of Madame de Pompadour by Cochin

Engraving of Madame de Pompadour as a Pilgrim,after Louis Vigee

Engraving of Madame de Pompadour,after Nattier

Madame de Pompadour as Hebe,photogravure after van Loo

Madame de Pompadour as Europe

Engraving of Madame de Pompadour by Levelle
         
Madame de Pompadour,after de La Tour

Madame de Pompadour,after de la Tour

Madame de Pompadour by Cattaneo

Madame de Pompadour,Cattaneo

Madame de Pompadour by Bellioz

Madame de Pompadour

Profile of Madame de Pompadour,after Cochin

A miniature of the young Marquise de Pompadour

Madame de Pompadour as Belle Jardiniere,miniature Francois Guerin

Miniature portrait of Madame de Pompadour

Miniature of Madame de Pompadour as a Shepherdess

Madame de Pompadour with a mask,miniature

Self portrait miniature by Madame de Pompadour

Miniature of Mme.de Pompadour,after Boucher

Miniature of Mme.de Pompadour,after Boucher

Miniature of Mme.de Pompadour,after Boucher

Miniature of Mme.de Pompadour,after van Loo

Miniature of Mme.de Pompadour

Miniature of Mme.de Pompadour,after de La Tour

Miniature of Mme.de Pompadour,after de La Tour

Miniature portrait of Madame de Pompadour after Boucher

Miniature of Madame de Pompadour by an Italian Miniaturist,1760s

Bust of Madame de Pompadour,1748-50 by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

Bust of Madame de Pompadour,1748-50 by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

Bust of Madame de Pompadour,1748-50 by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

Bust of Madame de Pompadour,1748-50 by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

Bust of Madame de Pompadour,1748-50 by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

Bust of Madame de Pompadour,1748-50 by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

Madame de Pompadour by Falconet 

Vertumnus and Pomona,Mme.de Pompadour as Pomona by Lemoyne

Satuettes of Mme.de Pompadour as Friendship and Louis XV as a Roman Emperor,1755 Pigalle

Mme.de Pompadour as Friendship,1755

Louis XV as Roman Emperor by Pigalle 

Mme de Pompadour as Europe by Tassaert

Madame de Pompadour as Friendship,1750-53 by Pigalle

Madame de Pompadour as Friendship,1750-53 by Pigalle

Madame de Pompadour as Friendship,1750-53 by Pigalle

Madame de Pompadour as Friendship,1750-53  by Pigalle


Love and Friendship,Madame de Pompadour as Frienship 1758 by Pigalle

Love and Friendship,Madame de Pompadour as Frienship 1758 by Pigalle

Love and Friendship,Madame de Pompadour as Frienship 1758 by Pigalle

Love and Friendship,Madame de Pompadour as Frienship 1758 by Pigalle

Love and Friendship,Madame de Pompadour as Frienship 1758 by Pigalle

Madame de Pompadour as a Sphinx,Sevres Porcellain

Madame de Pompadour as a Sphinx,Sevres Porcellain

Madame de Pompadour as a Sphinx,Sevres Porcellain

Terracotta bust of Madame de Pompadour 

Bust of Madame de Pompadour by Davidson

Madame de Pompadour kissing the  Austrian envoy Count von Starhemberg


Caricature of Mme.de Pompadour titled "All good things come together"

Louis XV in 1745 by Jean-Marc Nattier

Ball of the Yew trees,1745

Ball of the Yew trees;det.

Mozart being received by Mme.de Pompadour in 1763 by Vincente de Parades,19th c

Alexandrine Le Normant d'Etiolles,daughter of Mme de Pompadour,1750-51 Drouais

Alexandrine Le Normant d'Etiolles,c. 1753 Boucher


Louise Madeleine de La Motte,mother of Madame de Pompadour by Adelaide Labille-Guiard

Fireplace in the apartments of Mme de Pompadour

A bed in Mme.de Pompadour's apartment

A bed in Mme.de Pompadour's apartment

A bed in Mme.de Pompadour's apartment

Madame de Pompadour's chaise percee or close stool

Potpourri Sevres vase that belonged to Madame de Pompadour

A pair of potpourri Sevres Porcellain vases belonging to Mme de Pompadour



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