A Picture for the Frame

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If Van Loo is the court painter of Louis XV, then Boucher is the court painter of Pompadour. Only he is not a court painter, for there is not a single Boucher portrait at Versailles. This is why we recognize in this painting a challenge for both the model-patron and the artist. Apparently their campaign had failed; so, talk about the nobility of a flop — it is as tragic and poetic as a rose on the floor; and we do see some of them scattered there, though barely distinguishable on the carpet — they are as transitory as the transition from the young woman’s foot to those manuscripts and books, maps — all pushed aside in her presence — a beautiful woman touching a melancholy note quite nonchalantly. Judging from the Marquise’s  face that is the note: perhaps she anticipates the picture’s reception; and so, it is sad, because in the end her intelligence triumphs over her beauty, and Boucher’s masterpiece remains a private work of art never to go up in scale to challenge the standing portrait at Versailles.



This entry was posted in Court, Courtiers, Louis XV, Louvre, Madame Pompadour, Versailles. Bookmark the permalink.

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