Madame Pompadour's Backside
History Today's blog (URL below) is running a profile on a series of racey, humorous caricatures from the mid to late 1700's. The November issue of the journal History Today features 'The Other Cheek', and authors Colin Jones and Emily Richardson reveal who a little-known collection of obscene and irreverent caricatures targetting Madame de Pompadour from a book of drawings entitled the Livre de caricatures tant Bonnes que mauvaises.
Many of the drawings are a little--well, what should I say? They reflect French humor of the time (the image posted here is very tame compared to many of them). You can see them all here:
The cartoonist, one of Madame Pompadour's contemporaries, told it like he saw it, that's for sure. The 'Book of Caricatures both Good and Bad' was composed over almost 30 years from the 1740s to the 1770s. The man responsible for them was Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin, who was, from the 1740s, embroidery designer at the royal court. He never fessed up to drawing these images (it would have certianly cost him his head) but it seems like everyone knew it was him.
Powerful women in history have always intrigued me and Madame Pompadour had plenty of power. That she was the subject of such wickedly cutting cartoons is proof of her domination of the political scene at the time. Interesting to see this from era when a different kind of media ruled. No way would these cartoon ever see the light of print today. What do you think? Would a powerful woman today be publically spoofed like this? Or a man, for that matter?