Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Art History

Department or School/College

School of Art

Committee Chair

H. Rafael Chacon

Commitee Members

Ione Crummy, Valerie Hedquist


French, mistress, monarchy, portrait


University of Montana


This thesis explores the development in the pictorial representation of four important French royal mistresses. It looks at works depicting Agnès Sorel, mistress to Charles VII; Diane de Poitiers, mistress to Henri II; Gabrielle d’Estrées, mistress to Henri IV; and Madame de Pompadour, mistress to Louis XV. By placing the portrayals of these women within a historical context, it becomes apparent that there are links between the strength of the crown and the depictions of the mistresses. This thesis traces the development of the imagery associated with these women and demonstrates that as the crown became more and more powerful, the portraits of the kings’ mistresses became bolder and less disguised.



© Copyright 2008 Shandy April Lemperle