Question of the Week is a new blog series inspired by our Masterpiece of the Week tours, offered daily at the Getty Center at 4:00 p.m. Featuring an open and upbeat discussion among visitors and gallery teachers, the tours feature… More»
This milky pink boomed into popularity because of a marketing ploy, a mistress, and its ambiguous origins.
In an effort to compete with the renowned Meissen porcelain factory, the French Sèvres manufactory recruited the glamorous Madame de Pompadour (mistress to King Louis XV). Like a smart sponsorship deal, Sèvres gave her all the porcelain she requested.
Introduced in 1757, this rich pink exploded on the scene thanks to favoritism by Madame Pompadour herself.
The glaze itself had a weird history. To the Europeans it looked Chinese, and to the Chinese it was European. It was made based on a secret 17th-century glassmaker’s technique, involving mixing glass with flecks of gold.
For more on colors and their often surprising histories, check out The Brilliant History of Color in Art.