The various arts―Painting, Sculpture, Music, and Architecture―are shown beseeching Fate not to end Madame de Pompadour’s life. Pompadour was a favorite mistress of Louis XV and an avid patron of the arts. Her brother, the Marquis de Marigny, was Superintendant of the Arts under the King when his sister was ill and not expected to live. The Marquis commissioned the painting in 1764, when Van Loo was First Painter to the King.
The woman on the left symbolizes the art of engraving, one of the arts in which Madame de Pompadour was very talented. Fate rests on the world; on his left is
an urn from which he draws the fortunes of humans.
Below Fate, the Parcae are holding the thread of Madame de Pompadour’s life.