The Patron of Arts seen through the eyes of Francois Boucher.
ADMIRATION EXPRESSED IN A PORTRAIT
One of Francois Boucher’s most favourite painting subject was Madame de Pompadour. She was also known as Marquise de Pompadour aka Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson . (born 29 December 1721 – died 15 April 1764).
There are several portraits of her painted by Francois Boucher. Furthermore there are a lot of paintings picturing Diana and Venus showing the face of Madame de Pompadour. It seems like Boucher was really fond of this lovely lady.
AN INTELLECTUAL PORTRAIT OF MADAME DE POMPADOUR
The painting we see here was painted in 1756 and shows us a very elegant woman in a beautiful dress. As you might know Madame de Pompadour was the mistress of Louis XV. Because of her great beauty most of the times she was considered a sensual, almost emptyheaded woman. Not in this painting! We can see Madame de Pompadour with a book in her hand, an ink pen on the floor and several papers and writings are surrounding her. A huge bookcase filled with books at the background. This is a portrait of an intellectual woman, a supporter of the Enlightenment. She was actually a major patron of architecture and decorative arts, such as porcelain. In addition she was a patron of the “Philosophes of the Enlightenment“, including Voltaire.
To maintain a bit of the lightness and beauty of the Marquise, Boucher spent a lot of attention to the dress, which is made of silk and has a lot of beautiful details like the small roses.
Her cute dog is sitting next to her waiting until his mistress is ready to go out with him for a long walk. Looking at this painting and having read about her life I get the impression that she was a lonely woman, not appreciate enough by her peers. Maybe her dog was one of her few friends. Probably the only real friend she had.