Pompadour

Pompadour

[pom-puh-dawr, -dohr, -door]
Pompadour, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson Le Normant d'Étioles, marquise de, 1721-64, mistress of King Louis XV of France. She was the king's mistress for about five years after 1745 and remained his confidante until her death. Of middle-class origin, she owed her success mainly to her intelligence and capabilities. She urged the appointment of the duc de Choiseul and other ministers and encouraged the French alliance with Austria, which involved France in the Seven Years War. The extent of her influence over state policy has, however, been exaggerated. She was a tastemaker in matters of art and culture, favoring Voltaire and other writers of the Encyclopédie, employing many artists to decorate her residences, and encouraging the manufacture of Sèvres ware and other luxury goods.

See biographies by J. Levron (tr. 1963), N. Mitford (2d ed. 1968), C. Pevitt Algrant (2002), and E. Lever (tr. 2002); C. Jones, Madame de Pompadour: Images of a Mistress (2002); study by M. Crosland (2000).

known as Madame de Pompadour

Madame de Pompadour, detail of a portrait by François Boucher; in the National Gallery of elipsis

(born Dec. 29, 1721, Paris, France—died April 15, 1764, Versailles) French mistress of Louis XV. Educated in art and literature, she married Charles-Guillaume Le Normant d'Étoiles in 1741 and became admired by Parisian society and by the king, who installed her at Versailles as his mistress in 1745. She obtained a separation from her husband and was created marchioness de Pompadour. She, the king, and her brother, appointed director of the king's buildings, planned and built the École Militaire and the Place de la Concorde in Paris, the Petit Trianon Palace at Versailles, and many other buildings. She and Louis also encouraged painters, sculptors, and craftsmen, making her 20 years in power the height of artistic taste. Her political influence was less astute; the alliance with Austria against the German Protestant princes that she urged led to the disastrous Seven Years' War.

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Pompadour can refer to:

  • Arnac-Pompadour, a commune of the Corrèze département of France, former marquisate, famous for its Château and its National Stud
  • Madame de Pompadour, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, a well-known courtesan and the famous mistress of King Louis XV
  • Pompadour (hairstyle), a combed hairstyle that takes its name from Madame de Pompadour

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