Jean-Honore Fragonard’s “The Swing”

8 Mar
"The Swing"

Jean-Honore Fragonard's "The Swing"

The Swing (also known as The Happy Accidents of the Swing) by Jean-Honore Fragonard was created in 1767.  It is located in the Wallace Collection in London.  The painting is considered to be one of the major masterpieces of the rococo era.  The painting is of a woman on a swing that is being pushed by her husband.  There is another man hiding in the bushes in front of her watching.  Her husband is in the background of the painting and is unaware of the other man watching.  The paint was originally requested to be a portrait of the Baron’s mistress on a swing being pushed by a bishop, but Fragonard replaced him with a smiling husband instead.  When the lady goes high on the swing, the man can see under her dress.  She is flicking her own shoe off in the direction of the statue of Cupid and he back is turned from the statue of two angels that is beside her husband.  It was said in the memoirs of French dramatist and songwriter, Charles Colle, that the painting was asked to be done by Gabriel Francois Doyen of him and his mistress, but he was too embarrassed and passed the commission onto Fragonard.  This painting connects with the rise of the middle class because you can see how careless the higher class folk were.  You can assume that they spent a lot of money on their clothes and statues.  This was most likey painted before the lower class started fighting back.  I found this painting to be extremely beautiful.  The colors and intricate detail caught my attention right away.  Even though the message of the painting is not exactly a pretty one, I still find the painting as a whole to be beautiful.  The Rococo era of art is amazing to me.  Jean-Honore Fragonard’s painting are all very, very beautiful and I encourage you to look through some of his other works.

Works Cited

Fragonard, Jean-Honore. The Swing. 1766. The Wallace Collection, London. Ancien Regime – Rococo. Web. 8 Mar. 2011.

“Jean Honora Fragonard: Biography from” Wiki Q&A Combined with Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedias. Reference Answers. Web. 09 Mar. 2011.


2 Responses to “Jean-Honore Fragonard’s “The Swing””

  1. rmashrauna March 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    My first reaction was “WOW!”. This is an absolutely beautiful painting! I love,like you, the intricate details. I really love the light in the tree branches and the soft colors used. I agree the topic is not very beautiful, but it is realistic. I would like to get a print of this for my home.You offered great information, the one thing I would have liked would be to know more about the artist. Thank you for sharing.

  2. lbullen March 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    This is a beautiful painting, I love the way the pink of the woman’s dress pops out at the viewer. You did a really good job talking about the meaning of the painting. I love the tone of light and dark in the painting as well. One of the first things I noticed was the guy who is watching from the bushes almost looks like he fell. How do you think the woman would have been represented by a female artist? Do you think the artist intended for the peeping Tom to look innocent?

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