From the June 18–28 at Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair, in London, you have a great opportunity to see the prime copy of the gallant life-size portrait of Madame de Pompadour, the original of which is in Louvre. Nicholas Price, the specialist picture dealer, will offer it for sale.

This pastel portrait depicts one of the rarest women who played decisive role in the political, intellectual, and artistic life of the 18th century. First mistress and later a friend of King Louis XV, she also served as his counsellor.

The portrait shows Madame de Pompadour seated in a collector's cabinet decorated with blue-green paneling accented in gold. The sumptuousness of her clothing - a spectacular French-style dress in fashion around 1750 - shows a tendency to ostentation, while the absence of jewelry and the simplicity of her coiffure underscore – the portrait's personal nature. She is shown as a protector of the arts, surrounded by attributes symbolizing literature, music, astronomy and engraving.

This crayon is not only the prime copy, but also is the largest and the finest known copy of the picture commissioned by Madame de Pompadour herself from the artist Maurice-Quentin Delatour (1704–1788). The original was exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1755 and is never lent for exhibition in consequence of its delicate station. This brilliant, though unsigned, copy of Madame de Pompadour probably dates to the late 1830s. The attention to detail is painstaking and even the frame is an exact copy of the version by Delatour.

A great example of art, Madame de Pompadour influenced a generation of artists and musicians and the elegance of 18th century can almost be labelled as being in the “Pompadour style” and you can enjoy this piece of art with your own eyes.




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