Mme. de Pompadour as a non-patron of the Arts….

Rosie is our guide on this article.  Some thoughts:  Why did Donald Posner choose to study this subject?  How could Mme. de  Pompadour be both the champion of the Rococo and the new Neoclassical style?  If the author’s goal is to reassess the patron’s non-impact on the art scene, has he proceeded in a logical way?  How would you have approached this problem?  When Louis XV and Mme. de Pompadour became friends “without benefits” as it were, did art supplant the role of sex?  What was Mme. de Pompadour’s relationship to Tournehem? to Marigny?  Did Mme. de Pompadour have “an aesthetic” of her own?  If so,  where is it manifest?  Why is architecture so favored by the king?  Why does Mme. de Pompadour support the Ecole Militaire project?  The porcelain, the porcelain!  At last, do we see a hint of influence of Mme. de Pompadour? In considering the sculptures that Mme. de P. favored, what do you think of her taste?  Does she reside strongly in the Rococo camp?  Why do you think she favored Boucher’s portrait of her?  Finally, discuss the aspect of Mme. de Pompadour that was revealed by her avid interest and ability in gem cutting.

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4 responses

  1. I think it is interesting that Posner set out to explore Madame de Pompadour’s influence before coming to the conclusion that it has been overstated. I liked that Posner set out the aim of the article at the beginning, but really wish he gave English translations of the French in the footnotes. To those of you who read French: was I missing anything important? I felt that Posner’s argument progressed logically for the most part, but there were a few times when I wish the progression of his argument was explained more. These were usually small moments in the pice. For example, Posner claims that Madame de Pompadour could not have guessed the impact that her brother’s trip to Italy would have on the traveler’s artistic styles. Why would thay have been such a hard thing to foretell? Wasn’t the point of the trip to expose her brother to the art of Italy and make him more cultured?

    I’m sorry this comment is late.

  2. I agree that the author’s premise is in the negative. When I read premises such as the one in the introduction, I usually expect the author to place the focus on another person, but that does not seem to be the case here.

    Sometimes the conclusions the author draws from the content of the works seem stretched. For example, Boucher’s rising and setting of the sun.

    I also think that the argument the author makes for the Mme. not enjoying architecture seems weak. I think that the author is not paying much attention to issues of gender in this time period. The author also degrades the Mme’s architectural prowess when he suggests that her attention to detail and not space means that she did not understand architecture (83)

    The more I read the more I feel the author has something against Mme. geez.

    The author does give Mme. credit for her porcelain contribution , especially when he discusses the significance of her taste in statuettes
    boucher’s influence on Sevres is very interesting

    Again it seems at the end that the author is attacking Mme. when he says that her taste in painting was based only on her need to decorate her apartments. (98)

    The connection I see is that MMe liked art that showed off her wealth like statuettes and gem cuts.

    • I agree that the author does not seem to give his subject much credit. Isn’t that the starting point? Or shouldn’t it be? I felt that there were different ways to assess Mme. de P’s influence on the arts, but that Posner chose the lesser option in every medium. And then to say that her taste in paintings was based on something to match the sofa—-!

  3. The relationship between Mme Pompadour and Louis XV seems very strange. She was his mistress but then she wasn’t, but he still gave her a (fluctuating) annual allowance? What was going on there?

    I agree with Lola. The argument made about Mme. Pompadour and her lack of passion for architecture was not as strong as it should have been to be convincing for me. Maybe I am gender biased but the whole article seemed to just be a personal attack.

    “At no point in the history of her patronage of painting does Pompadour appear truly insightful or fired by critical enthusiasm.” (98) Ouch.

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