Jean Honoré Fragonard - The Swing

by Alexandra Tuschka

We are in a clearing in the forest. Three people are together in cheerful play. A lady in luxuriant, splendid dresses is the central motif of the picture. She sits on a swing with which she playfully swings upwards. In the exuberance she even loses one of her shoes.


An admirer lies in the left corner of the picture and seems to be highly pleased about the sight offered to him - because he can look under the skirt of the lady. Another man, possibly an employee, helps the lady to even greater momentum by pulling on the ropes of the swing. His face is obscured by the shadow.


Fragonard is considered one of the most important representatives of playful rococo - this painting represents a major work of this period. Basically, they are genre scenes depicting everyday distractions and activities of courtly life. Although they are often as piquant as peasant motifs, Fragonard romanticizes them. At the French court under King Louis XV, he was nevertheless rejected as too "permissive". However, he received numerous commissions from private individuals. This painting was also a commission from the treasurer of the French clergy. He even had himself portrayed in the lover in front.


Jean Honoré Fragonard - The Swing

Oil on canvas, 1767-1768, 81 × 64 cm, Wallace Collection in London