‘Madame de Pompadour’: François Boucher’s Portrait of Power

‘Madame de Pompadour’: François Boucher’s Portrait of Power

Madame de Pompadour was a power to be reckoned with during the reign of her lover, the French king Louis XV. Born Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, she rose through the proverbial ranks at the court of Versailles starting in 1745, when the king first ennobled her, and she stayed indispensable to Louis long after the passion reputedly died down around 1750. One of the 18th century’s great tastemakers, she was also an eminence grise, managing access to the crown at home while fixing up alliances abroad. And she is still exerting power—or rather, her portrait is—at Munich’s Alte Pinakothek museum.

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