the swing jean honore fragonard
There are two notable copies, neither by Fragonard.
- One copy, once owned by Edmond James de Rothschild,  portrays the woman in a blue dress. 
- The other is a smaller version (56 × 46 cm), owned by Duke Jules de Polignac.  This painting became the property of the Grimaldi family in 1930 when Pierre de Polignac (1895-1964) married Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois (1898-1977). In 1966, the Grimaldi & Labeyrie Collection gave it to the city of Versailles, where it is currently exhibited at the Musée Lambinet, attributed to Fragonard’s workshop. 
Other instances of symbolism are also worth noting. In the foreground (right), a tiny lapdog – a symbol of faithfulness – sounds the alarm by barking, but the woman’s husband takes no notice. On the left, Cupid raises a finger to his lips to prevent the two Venus-putti beneath the swing from giving the game away, while the outstretched left arm of the young man (the Baron) has an obvious, phallic significance.
The Nightmare (1781) by Henry Fuseli.
Detroit Institute of Arts.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, “The Swing,” 1767 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, “The See-Saw,” 1750-5 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
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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.
So here we have a young girl on the swing flying carelessly through the air, pushed from behind by an old man. Her right slipper flies, oh so conveniently, off her foot and suddenly the young man, lounging in the low bush, enjoying the view above him, comes into view. In fact, he is looking right up her frothy pink and cream skirt! So you see, it is a conspiracy of the two lovers whose flirtatious little game goes not only unnoticed by the old man, but where he is in fact an active participant in this concealed peep show. Furthermore, the painting is filled with symbolism. In the 18th century France, a woman’s shoeless foot symbolized nudity, as did the man’s uncovered head and his hat, reaching towards the young girl’s parted legs. “Dolphins driven by cupids drawing the water-chariot of Venus symbolize the impatient surge of love.”*
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