the swing rococo painting mla

The swing rococo painting mla
The Swing (French: L’Escarpolette), also known as The Happy Accidents of the Swing (French: Les Hasards heureux de l’escarpolette, the original title), is an 18th-century oil painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard in the Wallace Collection in London. It is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the Rococo era, and is Fragonard’s best known work. [1]

  • One copy, once owned by Edmond James de Rothschild, [7] portrays the woman in a blue dress. [8]
  • The other is a smaller version (56 × 46 cm), owned by Duke Jules de Polignac. [7] 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. [9]

The swing rococo painting mla
It is not easy to see the third figure in the painting at the beginning, as the main attention is concentrated on the woman and her admiring lover. In reality there is a servant, who is present there, in order to push the swing. His image is the perfect reflection of the lack of equality in the society of the 18 th and 19 th centuries, where only rich people with higher status had the right for self-expression and freedom, their servants were to serve them and that’s it.
The setting of the painting is another component, which is common for the Romantic period. It is not a garden; it is probably a forest, which is seen from the abundance of trees. On the other hand there are statues, which is not possible in a forest, thus this is rather some remote corner of a private park. The setting here is also used as a reflection of some set rules and restrictions, which are broken in some secure part of it – where there is swing and the atmosphere of intimacy.

The swing rococo painting mla
Oil on canvas – Collection of The Frick Collection, New York, New York
The subject, a girl on a swing pushed by a husband while a lover looked from the bushes and a shoe flew from the foot, was dictated to the painter by the Baron de Saint-Julien; Fragonard transforms the scene from a licentious allegory into a commentary on the transience of pleasure through the specifics of his composition. The swing, in the 18 th century, was generally read as a sexual metaphor, due to the rhythm of movement and the positioning of the body, with extended legs, at the moment when the swing’s arc reached its climax; the loss of a shoe often symbolized the loss of innocence. The Swing is composed to direct the eye in such a way that the narrative is revealed gradually, following the motion of the swing from husband to lover, and framed as if a scene in a play, encouraging viewers to take pleasure in their intrusion into a private moment, approaching it as if it is performed for them.

The swing rococo painting mla
In addition, the Dutch of this time period were notorious for their inclusion of small symbolic items, which appear in The Swing in the case of the embracing putti and Cupid with his finger over his lips, to symbolize the secrecy of the affair. These are all reminiscent of earlier works by Rubens.
The inanimate objects add to the story as well. Two cherubs below the swing appear concerned by the sordid actions of the humans above them, one looking up at the women in trepidation and the other looking away from the action with a scowl. On the left side of the image is a stone statue of Cupid who raises a finger to his lips to point out the secretive nature of the impending affair.

As aforementioned, the painting shows a young woman on a swing. She is swinging with the help of two men, one of whom we think is the husband. This is an indication that the painting is based on love and romance (Tear 44-47). Nevertheless, on the left lie a young attentive male courtier who is staring at the long exposed legs of the swinging woman. The swinging leaves the skirt open and this gives the young man an opportunity to see under the petticoats that she is wearing under the pink dress. Although the young woman realizes that the young man is watching, she remains calm and seems to enjoy that attention from the young man. The young man seems to try to reach and touch the young woman.
In Fragonard’s most popular painting, The Swing was originally proposed to Doyen by de Saint-Julien to pain his “mistress” where he was to be painted in hiding in bushes and being pushed by a bishop, he specifically said though that the lady on the swing should be showing her ankles and more the enliven the painting to his liking. Doyen was shocked by this and suggested that Fragonard do it instead.


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