The Prints of Pompadour

by Kathleen



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{Plate-43, l’Amour et l’Amitié by Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, marquise de Pompadour, ca. 1755 and Plate-54, Alliance de l’ Austriche et de la France, ca. 1756 both after François Boucher; and Jacques Guay}

In eighteenth century Paris, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson was best known as Madame de Pompadour, she was the favorite mistress of King Louis XV, a notable patroness of the arts in his court and an artist in her own right. She was the inspiration for several portraits by Rococo artist François Boucher, yet her involvement with the arts was considered and portrayed as quite frivolous. But, for the first time a selection of her rare etchings, prints and paintings are on display at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. So, I popped in to peruse these exquisite creations that ranged from detailed catalogues and notebooks to vases and the most beautiful jewelry.

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{Plate-61, Portrait of Madame de Pompadour’s dog {Bebe}, ca. 1758 modeled after drawings by François Boucher and Jacques Guay}

Each print in the Suite of Prints is a true artistic process; first Jacques Guay {gemstone engraver} carved an image onto a gemstone, next an artist, usually Boucher or Joseph-Marie Vien created a drawing of the carved gem then Pompadour would etch the drawing onto a metal plate. A professional print-maker reinforced the etched lines with a burin, an engraving tool, and then made impressions onto paper to yield a finished product or print. Each item displayed was an absolute treasure, madame de Pompadour had a most artistic eye.

Profiter de l’art,

K