Lincoln Memorial vs. Portrait of Madame de Pompadour


Beginning with the similarity of the two pair of works of art, they present the theme of human transformation. Their visual aspects illustrate artworks with metamorphosis. Portrait of Madame de Pompadour is presented in a position that portrays the true nature of love and how such nature as transformed. The juxtaposed position of the two sculptures in its entirety presents the theme of love. Lincoln Memorial on the same breath, historically sets the phases of pre-metamorphosis, metamorphosis, and post-metamorphosis with the illustrated static phase of the two pair of works of art showing the transformation. Their presentations illustrate the motion of the life inherent in people. According to Gordon (28), such a presentation is used to demonstrate the transfiguration period.

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On the other hand, the motion as depicted on the discontented face of Madame de Pompadour shifts the focus towards a chase to modernity. This aspect is also furnished in the Lincoln Memorial front view that depicts what the president meant to the modern generation. Jones (206) argues that just like the president’s monument, Madame de Pompadour was used to present both pagan life and the Christian ordination. The Christianity ordination of Madame de Pompadour indeed shows its importance in the Christian morality as having presented the molding of the pagan myths into the Christian life (Goodman 58). This is brought out by incorporating emotions into Madame de Pompadour.

Thirdly, both Lincoln Memorial and Portrait of Madame de Pompadour color have chromes that presents the events that took place during religious activities and the subsequent religious ecstasy in life.  The painting and wording in both the Lincoln Memorial and Portrait of Madame de Pompadour illustrate the period before transformation and the activities that marked the period. The brightness is used to illustrate the power of the people towards freedom in America. Therefore, the artists in both cases used the theme of colors perfectly in illustration of the events that took place during the period; during the period where society needed freedom, women fighting for more rights and it was only a unifying leader to save the generation from the tribulations.

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According to Hankins (173), Lincoln Memorial and Portrait of Madame de Pompadour used a variety of colors to illustrate several activities each in a mode of action. This depicts the different activities that define a society within Lincoln Memorial and Portrait of Madame de Pompadour eras. The painting of nature and the motion aspects of the people illustrates the happiness with which the people lived. The two pieces of art have used a varied lighting. For instance, the right side of Portrait of Madame de Pompadour is more lit than the left with a heavy painting. Lincoln Memorial creates an open back door that appears as a Royal door. The door depicts the setting of a royal state meant for the former president (Lincoln). Through Lincoln Memorial and Portrait of Madame de Pompadour, the artists presented the natural life beyond. Firestone (60) analyzed the two arts and agreed that the painting of the regions beyond is used to illustrate the true nature of the lives beyond and the manner in which it coexisted with the human lives. Indeed, the banded columns and the portico at the right background of Lincoln Memorial marks similarities with Portrait of Madame de Pompadour works. The back part of the painting with a focus on the central part illustrates a shell of the fountain.

Contrariwise, the two pieces of art portray significant differences. In Portrait of Madame de Pompadour, the woman is portrayed as have paused from reading a book or after completing the book she was reading. The Boucher uses this painting to illustrate this young lady as having been among the most read women of her time. Historically, it comes at a time when very few women were read but in this case, the lady in the picture, Marquise de Pompadour, was among the most read of her time.  On her side are ink pot, seal and sealing wax together with an envelope. The artist was, therefore, able to present the two themes of reading and writing that were completed into the painting. The purpose of the art is to show a period that was historically marked with uncensored art (Jones 143). Secondly, Portrait of Madame de Pompadour describes an artwork in a private setting of Pompadour as she is in her private room. Historically, Boucher was able to cope with the then trend that called for an elegant style. This is illustrated by the artist in the painting of the hair, and dress. The artist has succeeded in the creation of a picture of a wife to a King. This is evident from the wealth and the social life of Pompadour at large. It is historically important in illustrating the importance of Pompadour having been a friend to King Louis XV (Gordon 24). The artist was, therefore, able to present the Rocco spirit in the paintings. Further illustrations depicted the beautification of the lady with the red colors and paints. The choice of Pompadour was critical in illustrating the Rocco culture having been among the most read women of her times and her gallery set up that depicted a bright, promising woman. In summary, Portrait of Madame de Pompadour was interested in the presentation of women’s beauty, societal culture, and freedom that allowed women to express themselves or men expressing women artistically.

Lincoln Memorial differs with Portrait of Madame de Pompadour works by historical contexts. The former is historically relevant considering the period of the occurrence with the event that led to its creation. The monument is, therefore, an example and an indication of the then warring factions and thus, the emergence of the strong unit in the name of Abraham Lincoln who could offer true leadership. The monument was thus, used to present the warring societies in the United States of America. During the then histories of America, some would lose the war and automatically become a group of the conquering empire. Some would not join the subduing empire and as such, would be destroyed completely and their cities burnt. The monument unlike Portrait of Madame de Pompadour, has, therefore, succeeded in creating a memory of the warring factions and histories of America that is now defined by the successes Abraham Lincoln brought. Historically, it presents the marginalization of various groups. Unlike the Portrait of Madame de Pompadour, the monument has presented the America culture so well with the variation leading to the presentation of different themes in the white paintings. The floor has been decorated with a variety of colors ranging from red, blue to white. Historically, this color variation reflects a period that came when the country was shifting from the president’s era to a democratic region (Goodman 67).

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  1. Firestone, Mary, and Matthew Skeens. The Lincoln Memorial. Picture Window Books, 2008; 44-78.
  2. Goodman, Elise. The Portraits of Madame De Pompadour: Celebrating the Femme Savante. Univ. of California P, 2000; 54-78.
  3. Gordon, Alden R, and Teri Hensick. “The Picture Within the Picture: Boucher’s 1750 “portrait of Madame De Pompadour” Identified. Apollo. 2003; 1-30.
  4. Hankins, Chelsey. The Lincoln Memorial. Chelsea Clubhouse, 2010; 154-278.
  5. Jones, Colin. Madame De Pompadour: Images of a Mistress. National Gallery Company, 2002; 154-278.
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