Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour

A closer look at the Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour

A closer look at the Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour
Maurice-Quentin Delatour (Saint-Quentin, 1704 - Saint-Quentin, 1788)
Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour
Pastel with gouache highlights on at least eight sheets of blue paper including one for the face, glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 1.77 m; L. 1.36 m
Inv. 27614
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Erich Lessing

Life and times of a Marquise

Destiny of a Marquise

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Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, better known as the Marquise de Pompadour, was born in 1721 into a bourgeois family on its way up in the world thanks to its links to the world of finance. She received a refined, elegant education.

As a child, she studied music and dance with Rameau’s favorite singer, Jélyotte. Crébillon père introduced her to the theatre and the art of declamation. He was a great rival of Voltaire, who was later to become a great friend of hers. She was a young protégée of the farmer-general Le Normant de Tournehem, who may in fact have been her real father. At the age of twenty, she married his nephew Guillaume Le Normant d’Etiolles, also later to become a farmer-general. She was then in a position to be admitted to Louis XV’s court, and became the king’s official mistress in 1745.

As a well-educated young woman who had made an advantageous marriage, she was invited to salons where conversation was worshipped as an art form. There she met Diderot, Marivaux, Voltaire and Rousseau - France’s intellectual elite who prided themselves on the sharpness of their wit. As the king’s mistress, she was able to offer them patronage. Upon her marriage, she took possession of the domain of Etiolles, some thirty kilometers from Paris, on the edge of the forest of Sénart where Louis XV often hunted. From 1743, Jeanne-Antoinette’s name was included on the list of notable ladies in the vicinity who received part of the spoils of the hunt as a gift from the king.

The sudden death of the Duchesse de Châteauroux in 1744 left the king without a mistress, and Jeanne-Antoinette obtained the position in 1745. A poem by Voltaire suggests that Louis XV seduced Jeanne-Antoinette – who did not yet hold the title Marquise de Pompadour – at the Costumed Ball and the Yew Tree Ball held at Versailles in honor of the Dauphin’s nuptials. The king and seven members of his retinue are shown dressed as topiary yew trees on the left-hand side of the drawing.

Jeanne-Antoinette lost her noble status after breaking her marriage vows, and had to be granted a new title to be able to appear at court and become the royal mistress. That was how she became the Marquise de Pompadour.

She received an annual pension which enabled her to buy several superb properties, including chateaux in Crécy, La Celle-Saint-Cloud, and Ménars, and a magnificent townhouse, the Hôtel d’Evreux, now the Elysée Palace. She decorated the interiors in lavish style. She was a great patroness of the arts, counting many of the leading artists of her day as friends, and was able to call on the highly skilled craftsmen who worked on the royal buildings. In the autumn of 1745, she moved into the Château de Versailles, taking over the Duchesse de Chateauroux’s former rooms, known as the upper apartments.

In 1749, she moved to apartments on the ground floor of the central building, the lower apartments. This move reflected a change in her status. From 1751, she was no longer the king’s mistress, but remained an adviser and friend.

Charles-Antoine Coypel
Pierre Jélyotte in the Role of the Nymph Plataea in Jean-Baptiste Rameau's Comic Opera Platée ou Junon jalouse
Oil on canvas
H. 0.54 m; L. 0.46 m
Inv. M.I. 1049
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Paintings

Charles-Antoine Coypel 
Pierre Jélyotte in the Role of the Nymph Plataea in Jean-Baptiste Rameau's Comic Opera Platée ou Junon jalouse
Oil on canvas
H. 0.54 m; L. 0.46 m 
Inv. M.I. 1049 
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Paintings
© 2006 Musée du Louvre / Angèle Dequier

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Portrait of Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon
Pastels
H. 0.31 m; L. 0.22 m
Inv. L.T. 37
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Portrait of Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon
Pastels
H. 0.31 m; L. 0.22 m
Inv. L.T. 37
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Anonymous (France, circa 1750)
A Dancer on Stage
Pen and watercolor
H. 0.35 m; L. 0.27 m
Rés. D216 05. fol. 2
Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Opéra

Anonymous (France, circa 1750)
A Dancer on Stage
Pen and watercolor
H. 0.35 m; L. 0.27 m
Rés. D216 05. fol. 2
Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Opéra
Cliché Bibliothèque nationale de France

Louis Tocqué
Charles-François Paul Le Normant de Tournehem
Oil on canvas
H. 1.34 m; L. 1.09 m
Inv. MV 3774
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Louis Tocqué
Charles-François Paul Le Normant de Tournehem
Oil on canvas
H. 1.34 m; L. 1.09 m
Inv. MV 3774
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Head-and-Shoulders Portrait of Louis XV, 1748
Pastels on blue-gray paper glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.60 m; L. 0.54 m
Inv. 27615
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Head-and-Shoulders Portrait of Louis XV, 1748
Pastels on blue-gray paper glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.60 m; L. 0.54 m
Inv. 27615
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© 2005 Musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola

Anicet Charles Gabriel Lemonnier
Reading Voltaire's Tragedy L'Orphelin de la Chine at Madame Geoffrin's Salon
Oil on canvas
H. 1.29 m; L. 1.96 m
Inv. MM.59-3-1
Malmaison, Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau

Anicet Charles Gabriel Lemonnier
Reading Voltaire's Tragedy L'Orphelin de la Chine at Madame Geoffrin's Salon
Oil on canvas
H. 1.29 m; L. 1.96 m
Inv. MM.59-3-1
Malmaison, Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau
© Photo RMN / Daniel Arnaudet

Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Denis Diderot, circa 1769
Oil on canvas
H. 0.82 m; L. 0.65 m
R.F. 1972-14
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Paintings

Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Denis Diderot, circa 1769
Oil on canvas
H. 0.82 m; L. 0.65 m
R.F. 1972-14
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Paintings
© 2003 Musée du Louvre / Angèle Dequier

Jean-Antoine Houdon
François Marie Arouet, Known as Voltaire
Marble
RF 1426
Paris, Musée du Louvre

Jean-Antoine Houdon 
François Marie Arouet, Known as Voltaire 
Marble
RF 1426 
Paris, Musée du Louvre
© 1997 Musée du Louvre / Pierre Philibert

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Pastels
H. 0.45 m; L. 0.34 m
Inv. LT5
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Jean-Jacques Rousseau 
Pastels
H. 0.45 m; L. 0.34 m
Inv. LT5
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Jean Le Rond D'Alembert
Pastels on blue-gray paper on a stretcher
H. 0.56 m; L. 0.46 m
R.F. 3893
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Jean Le Rond D'Alembert
Pastels on blue-gray paper on a stretcher
H. 0.56 m; L. 0.46 m
R.F. 3893
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© 2005 Musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola

Jean Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755)
Louis XV Hunting with Dogs
Inv. M.R.2231
Fontainebleau, Château de Fontainebleau

Jean Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755)
Louis XV Hunting with Dogs
Inv. M.R.2231
Fontainebleau, Château de Fontainebleau
© Photo RMN / DR

Jean-Marc Nattier
The Duchesse de Châteauroux
Oil on canvas
H. 0.81 m; L. 1.01 m
Inv. M.V. 8415
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Jean-Marc Nattier
The Duchesse de Châteauroux
Oil on canvas
H. 0.81 m; L. 1.01 m
Inv. M.V. 8415
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© Photo RMN / Daniel Arnaudet

Charles-Nicolas Cochin the younger
The Costumed Ball Held at Versailles on February 24, 1745
Pen and black ink, gray wash, watercolor, and white gouache highlights
H. 0.74 m; L. 0.53 m
Inv. 25251
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Charles-Nicolas Cochin the younger
The Costumed Ball Held at Versailles on February 24, 1745
Pen and black ink, gray wash, watercolor, and white gouache highlights
H. 0.74 m; L. 0.53 m
Inv. 25251
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Michèle Bellot

Charles-Nicolas Cochin the younger
The Masked Ball, known as the Yew Tree Ball
Pen and black ink, gray wash, watercolor, and white gouache highlights
H. 0.45 m; L. 076 m
Inv. 25253
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Charles-Nicolas Cochin the younger
The Masked Ball, known as the Yew Tree Ball
Pen and black ink, gray wash, watercolor, and white gouache highlights
H. 0.45 m; L. 076 m
Inv. 25253
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Michèle Bellot

Jacques-André Portail
Château de la Celle [Saint-Cloud]
MV5548 Inv. Dessins 811
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Jacques-André Portail
Château de la Celle [Saint-Cloud]
MV5548 Inv. Dessins 811
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Nicolas Perignon
View of the Château de Ménars with the Main Entrance
Pen and black ink, gouache, and watercolor
H. 0.14 m; L. 0.28 m
Inv. 32322
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Nicolas Perignon
View of the Château de Ménars with the Main Entrance
Pen and black ink, gouache, and watercolor
H. 0.14 m; L. 0.28 m
Inv. 32322
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Thierry Le Mage

French school (18th century)
View of the Hôtel d'Evreux and its Grounds in Paris, Belonging to the Marquise de Pompadour
Engraving with watercolor highlights
H. 0.30 m; L. 0.44 m
Inv. Gravures 728
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

French school (18th century)
View of the Hôtel d'Evreux and its Grounds in Paris, Belonging to the Marquise de Pompadour
Engraving with watercolor highlights
H. 0.30 m; L. 0.44 m
Inv. Gravures 728
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© Photo RMN / Droits réservés

The principal study in the upper apartments at the Château de Versailles

The principal study in the upper apartments at the Château de Versailles
© Château de Versailles / Jean-Marc Manaï

The bedroom in the upper apartments at the Château de Versailles

The bedroom in the upper apartments at the Château de Versailles
© Château de Versailles / Jean-Marc Manaï
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Portrait of a royal mistress

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It is not known exactly when the Marquise commissioned her portrait, although 1751 seems the most likely year.

In 1746, Nattier painted her portrait as Diana the Huntress. A few years later, Delatour became one of the numerous artists to paint Madame de Pompadour’s portrait, including Boucher, who produced several sketches and the famous portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour in a green gown; Carle Vanloo, who painted her as a sultana then as a shepherdess; and Drouais, who painted her at work on her embroidery in 1763, a year before she died at the age of forty-three.

Delatour’s portrait was presented at the Salon in 1755.
It is exceptionally large for a pastel work, measuring
1.77 meters in height and 1.30 meters wide, or nearly 6 feet by 4.

Delatour clearly intended the portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour to be an outstanding example of the art of pastel drawing, very close in composition to the Portrait of the Président de Rieux. This portrait, completed fourteen years earlier, is slightly larger, measuring 2.10 m in height and 1.51 m wide, almost 7 feet by 5. The work’s monumental format, ambitious scope, and careful execution foreshadow the portrait of the Marquise.

Three surviving sketches of the Marquise’s face attest to the long preparatory stage necessary for the portrait.
Only the Marquise’s head was drawn from life. The three sketches are held in the Musée Antoine Lécuyer in Saint-Quentin. Experts have raised doubts over one of the three, calling into question the identity of the sitter.
Not only are the two other sketches clearly of the Marquise, but the size of the faces is also a close match for the finished drawing (15.2 cm in height and 13.3 cm wide, or 6 inches by 5.2, at the broadest part of the face).

Despite these detailed preparations, the work proved long and difficult to complete. As she wrote to one of her correspondents, “Such efforts to obtain it, and such precautions to be taken to bring the masterpiece to a happy conclusion!”

Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766)
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1722-1764) as Diana the Huntress
Oil on canvas
H. 1.02 m; L. 0.82 m
Inv. M.V. 9042
Versailles, Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766)
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1722-1764) as Diana the Huntress
Oil on canvas
H. 1.02 m; L. 0.82 m
Inv. M.V. 9042
Versailles, Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

François Boucher
Madame de Pompadour with Her Hand Resting on a Harpsichord Keyboard, 1750?
Oil on paper mounted on canvas
H. 0.61 m; L. 0.46 m
R.F. 2142
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

François Boucher
Madame de Pompadour with Her Hand Resting on a Harpsichord Keyboard, 1750?
Oil on paper mounted on canvas
H. 0.61 m; L. 0.46 m
R.F. 2142
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Daniel Arnaudet

François Boucher
Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour, 1757
Oil on canvas
H. 2.10 m; L. 1.57 m
Munich, Bayerische Hypotheken-und Wechsel Bank (n°18), on loan to the Alte Pinakothek

François Boucher
Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour, 1757
Oil on canvas 
H. 2.10 m; L. 1.57 m
Munich, Bayerische Hypotheken-und Wechsel Bank (n°18), on loan to the Alte Pinakothek
© Blauel / Gnamm - ARTOTHEK

Carle Vanloo
The Sultana Drinking Coffee, circa 1754
Oil on canvas
H. 1.20 m; L. 1.27 m
Inv. 7489
Saint Petersburg, Hermitage Museum

Carle Vanloo
The Sultana Drinking Coffee, circa 1754
Oil on canvas 
H. 1.20 m; L. 1.27 m
Inv. 7489
Saint Petersburg, Hermitage Museum
© The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg.

Carle Vanloo
The Marquise de Pompadour as a Shepherdess, circa 1760
Oil on canvas
H. 0.81 m; L. 0.64 m
Inv. MV 8616
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Carle Vanloo
The Marquise de Pompadour as a Shepherdess, circa 1760
Oil on canvas 
H. 0.81 m; L. 0.64 m
Inv. MV 8616 
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© Photo RMN / DR

François-Hubert Drouais
Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame
Oil on canvas
H. 2.17 m; L. 1.56 m
Inv. NG 6440
London, The National Gallery

François-Hubert Drouais 
Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame 
Oil on canvas
H. 2.17 m; L. 1.56 m 
Inv. NG 6440 
London, The National Gallery
© National Gallery of London

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Portrait of President Gabriel Bernard de Rieux, circa 1739-1741
Pastels on joined sheets of blue-gray paper on canvas on a stretcher
H. 2.10 m; L. 1.51 m
Inv. 94 P.C.39
Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Portrait of President Gabriel Bernard de Rieux, circa 1739-1741
Pastels on joined sheets of blue-gray paper on canvas on a stretcher
H. 2.10 m; L. 1.51 m
Inv. 94 P.C.39
Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum
© The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work after the face of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. L.T. 109
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work after the face of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. L.T. 109
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work after the face of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper, with the head glued to darker paper
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. L.T. 71
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work after the face of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper, with the head glued to darker paper
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. L.T. 71
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work after the face of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. L.T. 12
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work after the face of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. L.T. 12
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Presumed Portrait of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper
Oval. H. 0.30 m; L. 0.24 m
RF 54682
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Presumed Portrait of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper
Oval. H. 0.30 m; L. 0.24 m
RF 54682
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© 2008 Musée du Louvre / Harry Bréjat
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Composition of the portrait

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After the sketches, the next stage of Delatour’s preparatory work was lightly drawing in the lines structuring the layout of the portrait. They can clearly be seen in the large unfinished pastel portrait of Marie-Josèphe de Saxe and her son. It would seem logical to conclude that Delatour followed the same procedure for the Marquise’s portrait, although the impeccable finish of the pastel means that no such lines are visible. The fluid, intelligent use of space certainly suggests the work was exceptionally carefully planned.

The work is composed around a large central pyramid formed by the Marquise and her gown, its folds tumbling to the portfolio on the floor by her side. This form at the center of the composition gives the work a dynamic feel. The work’s median axis forms a subtle line passing through the Marquise’s left eye down to her hand and the tip of the heel on her shoe.

The carpet in the foreground acts as a trompe-l’œil, creating the illusion of depth and giving the pyramid its base, from which the sweep of the onlooker’s eye is guided up over the Marquise’s gown to her face. She is looking to the left with a faraway expression on her face. The movement of the head is matched by the curve of the wall-hanging in the background, which is in turn echoed by the position of the Marquise’s left arm and the sinuous rocaille-style wooden furniture. The viewer’s gaze then moves onto the right-hand side of the work, to which we shall return in a short while.

The work is remarkably harmonious in terms of its color scheme, dominated by the blue of the eight sheets of paper on which the work was drawn. Their tone influences the impression of the overall work.
It is picked up in the deep blue pattern on the carpet, the “halo” around the Marquise’s head, her azure eyes, the duller blue of the wood paneling and the sky in the Dutch-style landscape, and the more or less pale blue tones of the upholstered armchairs, the flowerets on her gown, the cover of the musical score, and the ribbons on the portfolio.

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Marie-Josèphe de Saxe and the Duc de Bourgogne
Pastels
H. 1.60 m; L. 1.14 m
Inv. LT17
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Marie-Josèphe de Saxe and the Duc de Bourgogne
Pastels
H. 1.60 m; L. 1.14 m
Inv. LT17
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour (Saint-Quentin, 1704 - Saint-Quentin, 1788)
Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour
Pastel with gouache highlights on at least eight sheets of blue paper including one for the face, glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 1.77 m; L. 1.36 m
Inv. 27614
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour (Saint-Quentin, 1704 - Saint-Quentin, 1788)
Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour 
Pastel with gouache highlights on at least eight sheets of blue paper including one for the face, glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 1.77 m; L. 1.36 m
Inv. 27614
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Erich Lessing
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A fabulous French gown

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At the heart of the harmonious palette of blue shades is the Marquise’s pale gown. Such French gowns were the height of elegance in the eighteenth century, coming into fashion around 1750.

It consists of a corsage which is very low cut, almost square, and worn very tight. The lower half of the gown, attached at the belt, opens to show an underskirt. The back of the gown, which cannot be seen in this portrait, forms a train.
The gown was worn over panniers which accentuated the size of the hips, while the wearer’s waist and chest were shaped by a tight whalebone corset.

The fabric of the gown is very rich. The lightness of the folds and the shimmer of the fabric suggest a satin base embroidered with raised silk lampas weave motifs. The main pattern consists of golden stylized leafy sprigs, interspersed with groups of natural-looking flowerets which form a delicate contrast with the style of the sprigs. The bodice is made of the same fabric.
The traditional stomacher has been replaced by a series of ribbon bows. The ruffled double pagoda sleeves, narrowing to the elbow, end in engageantes – flounces of lace or very fine fabric, often embroidered. Point d’Alençon and point de Beauvais lace were particularly fashionable for such sumptuous gowns.

The final touch was the lining, which can be seen beneath the folds of the gown and underskirt. This was very rare in the Marquise’s day, and was the last word in refinement. Perhaps surprisingly considering the luxury of her gown, the marquise is shown wearing heeled slippers. She does not have an elaborate hairstyle, nor is she wearing any jewelry, although an inventory of her possessions reveals she owned plenty. This is clearly a private portrait showing the Marquise at her ease. She is a thirty-four-year-old woman at home, expressing her personality through her portrait.

She could not have been unaware of the major definitions of the portrait as a genre then being put forward by Enlightenment thinkers, such as Montesquieu’s famous “je ne sais quoi” in his Essay on Taste. The expression refers to a woman’s grace, piquant charm, and unstudied elegance – all descriptions that could be applied to Delatour’s work, which is far more than just a portrait of a fabulous gown.

French-style dress and skirt, circa 1755
Silk, green and gray satin trimmed with ribbon, green silk chenille appliqués
Inv. GAL 15611.D.37
Paris, Musée Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

French-style dress and skirt, circa 1755
Silk, green and gray satin trimmed with ribbon, green silk chenille appliqués
Inv. GAL 15611.D.37
Paris, Musée Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris
© L. Degrâces et Ph. Ladet / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

Pannier dating from 1750
Inv. Cluny 7874
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Pannier dating from 1750
Inv. Cluny 7874 
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs
© Les Arts décoratifs / Musée de la mode et du textile, Paris / Photo Laurent Sully Jaulmes

Whalebone corset
Inv. 10801
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Whalebone corset
Inv. 10801
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs
© Les Arts décoratifs / Musée de la mode et du textile, Paris / Photo Laurent Sully Jaulmes

Detail of an emerald green satin dress of the "Robe volante" type
Lampas weave patterned with large flowers in shades of red, blue, yellow, and green
Circa 1735
UF 59-31-1
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Detail of an emerald green satin dress of the "Robe volante" type
Lampas weave patterned with large flowers in shades of red, blue, yellow, and green
Circa 1735
UF 59-31-1
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs
© Les Arts Décoratifs, musée de la mode et du textile, coll. Ufac

Engageante consisting of three Carrickmacross lace ruffles
Inv. GAL 1961.90.8
Engageante consisting of three muslin ruffles with point de Beauvais embroidery
Inv. GAL 1970.9.6
Engageantes with two figured muslin ruffles trimmed with white embroidery
Inv. GAL 1967.82.11
Circa 1750
Paris, Musée Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

Engageante consisting of three Carrickmacross lace ruffles
Inv. GAL 1961.90.8
Engageante consisting of three muslin ruffles with point de Beauvais embroidery
Inv. GAL 1970.9.6 
Engageantes with two figured muslin ruffles trimmed with white embroidery
Inv. GAL 1967.82.11
Circa 1750
Paris, Musée Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris
© Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

Detail of a piece of point d'Alençon embroidery (used to decorate a headdress)
Dated 1750-1760
Linen needlework
H. 8 cm; L. 120 cm
Inv. 2002.3.4
Alençon, Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle

Detail of a piece of point d'Alençon embroidery (used to decorate a headdress)
Dated 1750-1760
Linen needlework
H. 8 cm; L. 120 cm
Inv. 2002.3.4
Alençon, Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle
© Gilles KERVELLA

White silk brocade slippers decorated with chocolate-brown ruching and an embroidered floral motif, waisted heels sheathed in white leather, and a white soft leather sole, size 37
UF 49-32-130 AB
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs

White silk brocade slippers decorated with chocolate-brown ruching and an embroidered floral motif, waisted heels sheathed in white leather, and a white soft leather sole, size 37
UF 49-32-130 AB
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs
© Les Arts décoratifs / Musée de la mode et du textile, Paris / Photo Laurent Sully Jaulmes
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A daring political statement

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The work is more than just the portrait of a gown or a woman – it is a political statement. As well as being an exquisite rendering of the sitter’s refined attire, Delatour’s work conveys a highly complex representation of the Marquise.

The books on the table tell the viewer how she wishes to be seen. The first, Pastor Fido, a tragicomedy by Guarini, reflects her love of the theatre and acting. The others are philosophical works, some by controversial thinkers forced to flee France, such as Voltaire, author of La Henriade (1728), and Montesquieu, whose controversial work of political theory The Spirit of the Laws was banned by the Catholic Church in 1751. Next to a book whose title is partly illegible stands the fourth volume of the Encyclopedia indicating the reappearance of the work after it was banned in France in 1752. It must have taken some courage for Madame de Pompadour to be so open in taking the side of authors who spoke out against the principle of absolute monarchy then represented by Louis XV, to whom she owed her position as royal mistress.

The portrait also features a number of other objects. In front of the books and the globe, centered on France, Delatour has placed the Traité des pierres gravées, a work on the art of engraving gemstones, written by Pierre-Jean Mariette, well known as a collector of drawings and engravings. A plate from the book, which Madame de Pompadour did in fact own, is shown rolled out on the table. Delatour has even attributed it to the Marquise, signing it Pompadour sculpsit. The plate was actually engraved by the Comte de Caylus. Was the false attribution simply intended to flatter the Marquise, or was it an allusion to her own engravings on stone and copper?

The sheets of paper peeping from the portfolio at the Marquise’s feet likewise allude to the art of drawing and engraving. The Marquise de Pompadour's coat of arms can be seen on the portfolio.

The art of music is evoked by the scores, one held by the Marquise – herself a fine musician – the other lying on the armchair in the background, next to a Baroque guitar.

Music, literature, the fine arts, and politics are all brought together in this masterful portrait. As a genre, portraiture had begun to change in the mid-eighteenth century. Portraits of women in particular were becoming more varied. One of the new styles to emerge was the portrait of the femme d’esprit – women of culture and learning. Here is another example, to which the portrait of the Marquise compares favorably. Delatour’s work uses pastels to great effect to create a delicate balance between historical painting and private portrait, political statement and homage to beauty.

Anonymous (France, circa 1750)
Costume design for Voltaire's tragedy Alzire, ou les Américains, performed at the Théâtre des Petits Cabinets in the author's presence in 1750, with Madame de Pompadour in the title role
Pen and watercolor
H. 0.35 m; L. 0.27 m
Rés. D216 05. fol. 16
Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Opéra

Anonymous (France, circa 1750)
Costume design for Voltaire's tragedy Alzire, ou les Américains, performed at the Théâtre des Petits Cabinets in the author's presence in 1750, with Madame de Pompadour in the title role
Pen and watercolor
H. 0.35 m; L. 0.27 m
Rés. D216 05. fol. 16
Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Opéra
Cliché Bibliothèque nationale de France

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work for the portrait of Voltaire, 1736
Pastels
H. 0.36 m; L. 0.28 m
Inv. 1995-6-1
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work for the portrait of Voltaire, 1736
Pastels
H. 0.36 m; L. 0.28 m 
Inv. 1995-6-1
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Jean-Antoine Dassier (after)
Baron de Montesquieu, Philosopher, circa 1728
Oil on canvas
H. 0.63 m; L. 0.52 m
Inv. M.V. 2976
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Jean-Antoine Dassier (after) 
Baron de Montesquieu, Philosopher, circa 1728
Oil on canvas 
H. 0.63 m; L. 0.52 m 
Inv. M.V. 2976
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© Photo RMN / DR

Hyacinthe Rigaud
Louis XV, King of France, at the Age of Five, Wearing the Coronation Robes, 1715
Oil on canvas
H. 2.08 m; L. 1.54 m
Inv. M.V. 2174
Versailles, Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Hyacinthe Rigaud 
Louis XV, King of France, at the Age of Five, Wearing the Coronation Robes, 1715 
Oil on canvas 
H. 2.08 m; L. 1.54 m
Inv. M.V. 2174
Versailles, Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© Photo RMN / Daniel Arnaudet

Engraving by the Comte de Caylus after Edme Bouchardon's drawing The Lapidary at Work in Pierre-Jean Mariette's Traité des Pierres Gravées
Etching
Res. J. 595
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Engraving by the Comte de Caylus after Edme Bouchardon's drawing The Lapidary at Work in Pierre-Jean Mariette's Traité des Pierres Gravées
Etching
Res. J. 595
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Cliché Bibliothèque nationale de France

Engraving by Madame de Pompadour after François Boucher
"Military engineering" in Suite d'estampes d'après les pierres gravées de Guay graveur du Roi (Set of Engravings after the Intaglio Gemstones by Guay, Engraver to the King)
Etching with burin highlighting
H. 0.13 m; L. 0.11 m
L. 207 L.R
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Edmond de Rothschild Collection, donated 1935

Engraving by Madame de Pompadour after François Boucher
"Military engineering" in Suite d'estampes d'après les pierres gravées de Guay graveur du Roi (Set of Engravings after the Intaglio Gemstones by Guay, Engraver to the King)
Etching with burin highlighting
H. 0.13 m; L. 0.11 m
L. 207 L.R 
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Edmond de Rothschild Collection, donated 1935
© Photo RMN / DR

Histoire d'Agiatis, reyne de Sparte, ou les guerres civiles des Lacédémoniens sous les rois Agis et Léonidas (The History of Agiatis, Queen of Sparta, or the Lacedemonian Civil Wars under King Agis and King Leonidas)
Marbled calf binding stamped with the Marquise de Pompadour's coat of arms
Published in Paris by G. de Lyune in 1685
V5935(1-2)
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Histoire d'Agiatis, reyne de Sparte, ou les guerres civiles des Lacédémoniens sous les rois Agis et Léonidas (The History of Agiatis, Queen of Sparta, or the Lacedemonian Civil Wars under King Agis and King Leonidas)
Marbled calf binding stamped with the Marquise de Pompadour's coat of arms
Published in Paris by G. de Lyune in 1685
V5935(1-2)
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
© Photo RMN / Franck Raux

Marianne Loir
Portrait of the Marquise du Châtelet
Oil on canvas
H. 1.18 m; L. 0.96 m
Inv. Bx E19
Bordeaux, Musée des Beaux-Arts

Marianne Loir
Portrait of the Marquise du Châtelet 
Oil on canvas 
H. 1.18 m; L. 0.96 m
Inv. Bx E19 
Bordeaux, Musée des Beaux-Arts
© Photo RMN / A. Danvers
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One artist and his technique

Drawing with pastels

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Artists had long used pastels, described by Leonardo da Vinci
as “a type of dry color,” but the technique only really came into its own in the eighteenth century.

Although Charles Le Brun used pastels in a portrait of Louis XIV, and although Nicolas Dumonstier became the first artist working in pastels to be admitted to the Académie Royale in 1665, it was not until the second quarter of the eighteenth century that pastels gained widespread acceptance among artists and became the height of fashion.

Pastel, which the Goncourt brothers described as “the flower and dust of life,” is a dry drawing technique. The basic ingredients were finely ground clay mixed with powdered colored pigments, gum arabic to bind them together, and earth to give the mixture the required texture. The clay ensured that the pigments were homogeneously spread throughout the paste.
An ingredient such as honey was also added to absorb humidity and ensure the right texture. The mixture was shaped into small sticks and left to dry.

Pastel drawings can be identified by their powdery, velvety texture. The grainy powder refracts the light and gives pastel drawings their characteristic appearance. Pastels can be used both to draw lines of different colors – hatching or deft touches of color – and to cover larger swathes by scumbling and stumping with a finger or piece of cloth.

Pastels are still very popular among artists who appreciate their simplicity and ease of use.
Today, artists have some 1,500 shades at their disposal – three times more than the five hundred or so available in the nineteenth century.

Pastels are used on a paper base, usually colored, or on cardboard with a more or less abrasive grain to catch the particles of powder. If the work covered several sheets of paper or board, it was mounted on canvas and braced in a stretcher. The work was then displayed in a frame which left a gap between the work and the glass to avoid touching the surface.
The major drawback with pastels was their fragility, as the colors blurred and rubbed off at the slightest touch. Over the course of the eighteenth century, it became customary to fix the pastel powder to the paper or board with a fine spray consisting of a volatile solvent such as a mixture of water and alcohol and a transparent gelatin adhesive. Delatour spent years experimenting to find the perfect fixative which would neither dull the colors nor crush the delicate powder. Several works carry the traces of his efforts, such as the Self-Portrait of 1742, where the fixative has left a line round the head. In 1753, Delatour’s friend Antoine-Joseph Loriot, master of mechanics to Louis XV, invented a new fixative which rapidly gained the approval of the Académie Royale de Peinture. Delatour had by then been a member of the Académie for seven years, joining in 1746 as a portrait painter.

Charles Le Brun
Portrait of Louis XIV, 1667
Pastels on beige paper glued to board round the edges
H. 0.52 m; L. 0.40 m
Inv. 29874
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Charles Le Brun
Portrait of Louis XIV, 1667
Pastels on beige paper glued to board round the edges
H. 0.52 m; L. 0.40 m
Inv. 29874
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© 2005 Musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola

Pigments

Pigments
© la Maison du Pastel

Grinding the ingredients

Grinding the ingredients
© la Maison du Pastel

Shaping the mixture into sticks

Shaping the mixture into sticks
© la Maison du Pastel

Allowing the pastels sticks to dry

Allowing the pastels sticks to dry
© la Maison du Pastel

Various pastel techniques

Various pastel techniques
© la Maison du Pastel

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Portrait of Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon
Pastels
H. 0.31 m; L. 0.22 m
Inv. L.T. 37
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Portrait of Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon
Pastels
H. 0.31 m; L. 0.22 m
Inv. L.T. 37
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work after the face of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. L.T. 12
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work after the face of Madame de Pompadour
Pastels on beige paper
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. L.T. 12
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Box of pastels

Box of pastels
© 2008 Musée du Louvre / Cécile Dégremont

Box of pastels

Box of pastels
© 2008 Musée du Louvre / Cécile Dégremont

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Head of a Man Facing to the Right
Blue paper, black chalk with white and red chalk highlights
H. 0.28 m; L. 0.22 m
RF3741
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Head of a Man Facing to the Right
Blue paper, black chalk with white and red chalk highlights
H. 0.28 m; L. 0.22 m
RF3741
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Michèle Bellot

Stretcher

Stretcher
© 2008 Musée du Louvre / Cécile Dégremont

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Portrait of the Artist Jean Restout
Pastels
H. 1.08 m; L. 0.89 m
Inv. 27616
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Portrait of the Artist Jean Restout
Pastels
H. 1.08 m; L. 0.89 m
Inv. 27616
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Frame

Frame
© 2008 Musée du Louvre / Cécile Dégremont

Fixative

Fixative
© 2008 Musée du Louvre / Cécile Dégremont

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Self-Portrait, 1742
Pastels
H. 0.38 m; L. 0.30 m
L.T. 3
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Self-Portrait, 1742
Pastels
H. 0.38 m; L. 0.30 m
L.T. 3
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Jean Valade
Portrait of Antoine-Joseph Loriot, 1763
Pastels
H. 0.80 m; L. 0.70 m
Inv.1991-9-1
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Jean Valade
Portrait of Antoine-Joseph Loriot, 1763
Pastels
H. 0.80 m; L. 0.70 m
Inv.1991-9-1
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot
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Delatour and his pastel portraits

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Delatour was born in 1704 in Saint-Quentin and died in the same town in 1788. His father was an engineer and geographer. Delatour moved to Paris in 1727 and soon attracted attention as a promising young artist. He traveled to Cambrai and England with diplomatic representations, sketching the diplomats.

A few years previously, the Venetian artist Rosalba Carriera had made a triumphant visit to Paris. Her much-admired portraits made brilliant, flattering use of pastels and made the technique the height of fashion. Delatour copied some of her portraits. Some of these copies can now be seen in the museum in Saint-Quentin. He decided to specialize in pastel portraits. His clients included leading members of French society such as Voltaire, who sat for him in 1736.

Delatour’s career was given a boost when he was approved by the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture the following year, and by his full admittance as a member in 1746. This enabled him to show his works regularly at the Salon until 1773.

He was renowned for the justness of his compositions. Among his sitters were artists, politicians, and members of the royal family, including Louis XV, Marie Leszczynska, the Dauphin, and the Comte de Provence, to name but a few.

The brilliance of his portraits reflected the social quality of his sitters. “His tact and his natural gift for capturing the lines of a face from the outset, ensuring the likeness,” earned him a position as counselor at the Académie – the highest honor that could be bestowed upon a portrait painter. Once Delatour’s reputation was established, other artists such as Perronneau began to imitate his style. As pastel portraits became increasingly fashionable, he raised his prices ever higher, charging his wealthy sitters a fortune. However, Delatour was also a man of great generosity, creating a number of charitable foundations in his home town and setting up art competitions with large prizes. Towards the end of his life, he suffered from senile dementia. The self-portraits from his later years contain a "je ne sais quoi" of fragility and immediate presence, which prompted Diderot to say, "it seems that we have always known them."

On the wall opposite the portrait of the Marquise in Room 45 in the French paintings section hangs Delatour’s famous Self-Portrait at an Œil-de-bœuf Window. The Louvre acquired this pastel portrait in 2005 thanks to the generosity of the Société des Amis du Louvre. There is a subtle dialogue between the two works, as Delatour, wearing his artist’s smock, seems to turn his sparkling, witty gaze on his famous portrait opposite. It is as if we are invisible onlookers in his studio, watching as Madame de Pompadour sits for her portrait.

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Self-Portrait, 1742
Pastels
H. 0.38 m; L. 0.30 m
L.T. 3
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Self-Portrait, 1742
Pastels
H. 0.38 m; L. 0.30 m
L.T. 3
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Philibert Orry, Controller General of Finances and Director General of the King's Buildings
Pastels on blue-gray paper
H. 1.45 m; L. 0.59 m
Inv. 27613
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Philibert Orry, Controller General of Finances and Director General of the King's Buildings 
Pastels on blue-gray paper 
H. 1.45 m; L. 0.59 m
Inv. 27613
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© 2005 Musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola

Rosalba Carriera
Nymph from Apollo's Retinue
Pastels
H. 0.30 m; L. 0.20 m
Inv. MA 7683
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Rosalba Carriera
Nymph from Apollo's Retinue
Pastels
H. 0.30 m; L. 0.20 m 
Inv. MA 7683
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour, after Rosalba Carriera
Nymph from Apollo's Retinue
Pastels
H. 0.56 m; L. 0.42 m
Inv. LT99
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour, after Rosalba Carriera 
Nymph from Apollo's Retinue
Pastels
H. 0.56 m; L. 0.42 m
Inv. LT99
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Agence Bulloz

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work for the portrait of Voltaire, 1736
Pastels
H. 0.36 m; L. 0.28 m
Inv. 1995-6-1
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory work for the portrait of Voltaire, 1736
Pastels
H. 0.36 m; L. 0.28 m 
Inv. 1995-6-1
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Gabriel de Saint-Aubin
The Salon at the Louvre in 1765
Pencil, ink, and watercolor on paper
H. 0.24 m; L. 0.46 m
Inv. 32749
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Gabriel de Saint-Aubin 
The Salon at the Louvre in 1765
Pencil, ink, and watercolor on paper 
H. 0.24 m; L. 0.46 m 
Inv. 32749
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Jean-Charles Garnier d'Isle
Pastels
H. 0.44 m; L. 0.35 m
Inv. L.T. 19
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Jean-Charles Garnier d'Isle
Pastels
H. 0.44 m; L. 0.35 m
Inv. L.T. 19
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Jean-Pâris de Montmartel
Pastels on blue-gray paper, glued to a canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.70 m; L. 0.57 m
Inv. L.T. 10
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Jean-Pâris de Montmartel
Pastels on blue-gray paper, glued to a canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.70 m; L. 0.57 m
Inv. L.T. 10
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Head-and-Shoulders Portrait of Louis XV, 1748
Pastels on blue-gray paper glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.60 m; L. 0.54 m
Inv. 27615
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Head-and-Shoulders Portrait of Louis XV, 1748
Pastels on blue-gray paper glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.60 m; L. 0.54 m
Inv. 27615
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© 2005 Musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Queen Marie Leszczynska, 1748
Pastels on blue-gray paper glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.64 m; L. 0.54 m
Inv. 27618
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Queen Marie Leszczynska, 1748
Pastels on blue-gray paper glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.64 m; L. 0.54 m
Inv. 27618
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© 2005 Musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
The Dauphin Louis de France
Pastels
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. LT 25
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
The Dauphin Louis de France
Pastels
H. 0.32 m; L. 0.24 m
Inv. LT 25
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Portrait of an Unknown Sitter (known as Unknown Sitter 17)
Pastels on paper
H. 0.44 m; L. 0.37 m
Inv. LT52
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Portrait of an Unknown Sitter (known as Unknown Sitter 17)
Pastels on paper
H. 0.44 m; L. 0.37 m
Inv. LT52
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Head of a man seen face-on; corrections to the mouth and chin
H. 0.29 m; L. 0.22 m
RF 3740
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Head of a man seen face-on; corrections to the mouth and chin
H. 0.29 m; L. 0.22 m
RF 3740
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Michèle Bellot

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau
Portrait of Maurice-Quentin Delatour, 1750
Pastels
H. 0.56 m; L. 0.48 m
Inv. LT 76
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau
Portrait of Maurice-Quentin Delatour, 1750
Pastels
H. 0.56 m; L. 0.48 m 
Inv. LT 76
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Self-Portrait with Lace Jabot
Pastels
H. 0.64 m; L. 0.53 m
Inv. M.P.P118
Amiens, Musée de Picardie

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Self-Portrait with Lace Jabot 
Pastels 
H. 0.64 m; L. 0.53 m
Inv. M.P.P118
Amiens, Musée de Picardie
© Photo RMN / Agence Bulloz

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Self-Portrait
Pastels on blue-gray paper on canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.56 m; L. 0.46 m
Inv. 27622
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Self-Portrait
Pastels on blue-gray paper on canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.56 m; L. 0.46 m
Inv. 27622
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Gérard Blot

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Preparatory sketch for the Self-Portrait
Pastels
H. 0.27 m; L. 0.17 m
RF 4098
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Preparatory sketch for the Self-Portrait 
Pastels 
H. 0.27 m; L. 0.17 m
RF 4098
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Photo RMN / Thierry Le Mage

Maurice-Quentin Delatour (Saint-Quentin, 1704 - Saint-Quentin, 1788)
Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour
Pastel with gouache highlights on at least eight sheets of blue paper including one for the face, glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 1.77 m; L. 1.36 m
Inv. 27614
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour (Saint-Quentin, 1704 - Saint-Quentin, 1788)
Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour 
Pastel with gouache highlights on at least eight sheets of blue paper including one for the face, glued to canvas on a stretcher
H. 1.77 m; L. 1.36 m
Inv. 27614
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© Erich Lessing

Maurice-Quentin Delatour
Self-Portrait at an Œil-de-Bœuf Window
Pastels on blue paper, mounted on canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.59 m; L. 0.49 m
RF54298
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings

Maurice-Quentin Delatour 
Self-Portrait at an Œil-de-Bœuf Window 
Pastels on blue paper, mounted on canvas on a stretcher
H. 0.59 m; L. 0.49 m
RF54298
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings
© 2005 Musée du Louvre / Harry Bréjat
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