Beginning in 1732, several mistresses (“favorites”) played an important role in the king’s personal life. Madame de Pompadour resided in Versailles from 1745 until her death in 1764. The mistress and then friend and adviser of the king, she played a political role as well as wielding great influence in the field of the arts. She took the painter François Boucher under her protection and sponsored many artists such as the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. In 1763, Madame de Pompadour convinced Louis XV to build a new palace: the Petit Trianon, future residence of queen Marie-Antoinette.
A few years later, after the death of the marquise in 1768, it was the turn of Madame du Barry to become the king’s mistress. She also lived in Versailles, in a richly decorated and spacious apartment located over the king’s inner cabinets. She remained at his side until his death in 1774. Louis XV left to his grandson Louis XVI a weakened and discontented kingdom where the seeds of the French Revolution were soon to germinate.