swing painting

Swing painting
The Swing depicts a young man – concealed in the foliage – who is watching a young woman on a swing. (At the time, a swing was a conventional symbol for infidelity.) She is being pushed by an elderly man in the background who has no idea of the young man’s presence. At first glance, the picture appears to be a simple image of an innocent young woman at play, but then it becomes clear that the picture is deliberately risque and rather rascally. Because as the lady rides higher and higher on the swing, she allows her admirer to see up her dress – and even kicks her legs apart for his benefit. As she does so, she sends one of her shoes soaring towards a winged figure that could easily represent Cupid, the Roman god of desire and erotic love.
Interpretation of Other 18th Century Paintings

Swing painting
The painting depicts an elegant young woman on a swing. A smiling young man, hiding in the bushes on the left, watches her from a vantage point that allows him to see up into her billowing dress, where his arm is pointed with hat in hand. A smiling older man, who is nearly hidden in the shadows on the right, propels the swing with a pair of ropes. The older man appears to be unaware of the young man. As the young lady swings high, she throws her left leg up, allowing her dainty shoe to fly through the air. The lady is wearing a bergère hat (shepherdess hat). Two statues are present, one of a putto, who watches from above the young man on the left with its finger in front of its lips in a sign of silence, the other of pair of putti, who watch from beside the older man, on the right. There is a small dog shown barking in the lower right hand corner, in front of the older man. According to the memoirs of the dramatist Charles Collé, [2] a courtier (homme de la cour) [3] asked first Gabriel François Doyen to make this painting of him and his mistress. Not comfortable with this frivolous work, Doyen refused and passed on the commission to Fragonard. [2] The man had requested a portrait of his mistress seated on a swing being pushed by a bishop, but Fragonard painted a layman.
The original owner remains unclear. A firm provenance begins only with the tax farmer Marie-François Ménage de Pressigny, who was guillotined in 1794, [5] after which it was seized by the revolutionary government. It was possibly later owned by the marquis des Razins de Saint-Marc, and certainly by the duc de Morny. After his death in 1865, it was bought at auction in Paris by Lord Hertford, the main founder of the Wallace Collection. [6]

Swing painting
Money, power, and sex were the three most basic desires of 18th century France. To be considered successful you needed to be rich, influential, and attractive. The French aristocracy continually worked towards these three idols by gaining funds, titles, and lovers. The Rococo age was a time of self-indulgence, where greed was good, and more was better. Being modest, unimportant, and chaste were cynically abandoned for the luxurious world of material comforts and easy virtues. Jean-Honoré Fragonard explores the three basic desires of money, power, and sex through his masterpiece, The Swing.
The statue painted above the lover is Seated Cupid. A contemporary sculptor, Etienne-Maurice Falconet, created this famous statue in 1757 for King Louis XV’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour. Seated Cupid raises his hand to his lips and gestures toward the lady in a knowing signal that he knows her secret. The statue represents discretion and secrecy, the two things needed if the lady’s love affair is to survive. Voltaire, the celebrated philosopher of the Enlightenment, upon seeing this statue once said, “Qui que tu sois, voici ton maître” or “Whoever you are, here is your master.” Love conquers all, and in The Swing it fuels the drama!

Swing painting
Fragonard’s iconic painting is one of the most emblematic images of 18th-century French art. A young woman wearing a lovely pink silk frock is tantalisingly positioned mid-air on a swing between her elderly husband on the right and her young lover on the left. The force of the swing caused one of her slippers to fly off, resulting in a privileged view for her lover whose delight is suggested by the symbolic offer of his hat.
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Swing painting
The painting depicts an elegant young woman on a swing. A smiling young man, hiding in the bushes on the left, watches her from a vantage point that allows him to see up into her billowing dress, where his arm is pointed with hat in hand. A smiling older man, who is nearly hidden in the shadows on the right, propels the swing with a pair of ropes. The older man appears to be unaware of the young man. As the young lady swings high, she throws her left leg up, allowing her dainty shoe to fly through the air. The lady is wearing a bergère hat (shepherdess hat). Cupid watches the affair at the side of the painting, while putting his finger to his lips. There are also two cherubs below the swing. One of them look away in disapproval while the other look at them in dread. According to the memoirs of the dramatist Charles Collé, a courtier (homme de la cour) asked first Gabriel François Doyen to make this painting of him and his mistress. Not comfortable with this frivolous work, Doyen refused and passed on the commission to Fragonard. The man had requested a portrait of his mistress seated on a swing being pushed by a bishop, but Fragonard painted a layman.
The original owner remains unclear. A firm provenance begins only with the tax farmer M.-F. Ménage de Pressigny, who died in 1794, after which it was seized by the revolutionary government. It was possibly later owned by the marquis des Razins de Saint-Marc, and certainly by the duc de Morny. After his death in 1865 it was bought at auction in Paris by Lord Hertford, the main founder of the Wallace Collection.

References:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Swing_(painting)
http://www.dailyartmagazine.com/painting-of-the-week-jean-honore-fragonard-the-swing/
http://www.wallacecollection.org/collection/les-hazards-heureux-de-lescarpolette-swing/
http://www.wikiart.org/en/jean-honore-fragonard/the-swing-1767
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Swing_(painting)

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