Monday, September 16, 2013

Painting of the Day: Madame de Pompadour, Mistress of Louis XV, 1758

Madame de Pompadour
Mistress of Louis XV
Boucher, 1758
The Victoria and Albert Museum
This stunning portrait is the work of François Boucher (1703-1770) who was born in Paris and most likely trained as an artist under his father who was a painter. Boucher went on to attend the Académie de France in Rome. In Paris, he gained royal favor and of private collectors, producing a tremendous range of artworks from pastoral paintings, porcelain and tapestry designs to stage designs. He was one of the foremost influences on the Rococo Movement.

As a perfect example of his work, this painting also serves to demonstrate the dominant Rococo style of Seventeenth-Century France. The subject is the Marquise de Pompadour who became in 1745 the favorite mistress of King Louis XV. Madame de Pompadour is depicted in a garden, clad in an elegant white silk dress which blends into the green of the garden. This sort of subtle artificiality combined with just enough naturalism was a hallmark of Rococo artists.

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