The EmptyChair team was lucky enough to experience an Art History seminar lead by the charming Mariska Beekenkamp-Wladimiroff, Director of Art Historical London, with an intriguing insight into the Portrait of Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame (1763-4). The work, by François-Hubert Drouais, captures the Marquise of Pompadour for the last time, bringing to the end a tale of a lover, mistress, friend and confidant to Louis XV.
Mariska gave exciting insight into the world of the mid 18th Century France; a time of decadent excess and unadulterated fun. She explained the stories about the great balls hosted by the King, to which he once dressed up as a tree! This stems from the fashionable fixation of the time with all things pastoral – women often dressed as shepherdesses or milkmaids to parties like these. Further, Mariska illustrated a snapshot of an intelligent and shrewd woman with a deft hand for ensuring her tentacular power reached deep into the arts, culture, and social enlightenment of France.
The depth of knowledge that Art Historical offered was a joy to experience; all of us sat there slightly in awe of what we were being taught! Mariska took apart the painting and discussed the significance of each of the elements, some that seemed so small and subtle one could barely make them out!
After the lecture was finished, we had a chance to explore the Orleans House Gallery, nestled in Twickenham by the river – making for an exquisite setting for the Art Historical lecture series.
If you want to tap into your cultural side, and learn from experts like Mariska, head to EmptyChair to have a look at what we’ve got for you! apple.co/2iujL5x