OIL PAINTING: Madame de Pompadour, 1756
Portraying Madame de Pompadour was a genre in itself in mid-18th century France. She used portraits to communicate with the king and the public, announcing her loyalty, love, intellectualism, cultural fecundity. Boucher painted her several times. Another example is in the Victoria & Albert museum, and there's an imposing painting by François- Herbert Drouais, in the National Gallery, in which she sits at her writing desk surrounded by books and portfolios, the intellectual at work.
Madame de Pompadour is at ease . She leans naturally against the plinth of a statue and holds her fan with ease; it points to her little spaniel, who sits loyally. This is a message to the king - she is as reliable as her patient pooch. The statue is called Friendship Consoling Love - the eager boy is Cupid - and it alludes to the transformation of her relationship with the king from a sexual to a companionable one