François Boucher
The Marquise de Pompadour


Click on the picture to see an enlarged version.

    • Oil on Canvas, 1758
    • 32 x 25 9/16 inches
    • Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University

Thanks to his admirable talent, extreme popularity, and the patronage of Madame de Pompadour, the mistress to King Louix XV, Boucher became one of the busiest artists of his day. He designed for the Beauvais tapestry works and became director of the Gobelins tapestries, the premier producer of quality tapestries in the world. In 1765 he was made first painter to the king, director of the Royal Academy, and designer for the Royal Porcelain Works. These successes were all directly or indirectly encouraged by the Marquise de Pompadour.

Understandably, he painted her portrait numerous times, but perhaps none of them are as splendid as this one from 1758. By this time, the Marquise de Pompadour had ceased being the sexual partner of the King, but remained his closest advisor on intellectual and artistic matters. Thus, it is ironic and touching that Boucher has chosen to paint her younger than her years, surrounded by her beloved flowers (but not books), and prominantly wearing a cameo with the likeness of the King

We are fortunate in having this painting, one of Boucher's finest, in the Boston area. It is at the Fogg Museum at Harvard..

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