The Swing, Fragonard, 1767-1768 thumbnail

The Swing, Fragonard, 1767-1768

18 apr 2024 7:16 pm


Step into the enchanting world of "The Swing" (French: L'Escarpolette), also known as "The Happy Accidents of the Swing" (French: Les Hasards heureux de l'escarpolette), an exquisite 18th-century oil masterpiece by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. This captivating artwork, housed in the prestigious Wallace Collection in London, epitomizes the essence of the Rococo era and stands as a testament to Fragonard's unparalleled talent.

In this scene, an elegantly attired young woman gracefully swings amidst a lush garden backdrop. With a mischievous charm, a smiling young man peeks from the foliage, gesturing towards the lady's billowing dress. Meanwhile, an older gentleman, nearly concealed in shadows, gently propels the swing with skillful movements. A small white dog adds to the whimsical atmosphere with its playful barks.

The lady, adorned with a shepherdess hat, playfully kicks off her shoe, adding a touch of spontaneity to the scene. Two statues, one of a cherubic figure and another of two putti, observe the unfolding drama, adding depth to the composition.

Legend has it that the inspiration for this painting stemmed from a courtier's request for a portrait featuring himself and his mistress on a swing. Initially tasked to another artist, Gabriel François Doyen, who declined the commission, it eventually found its way to Fragonard, who infused it with his unique vision.

While celebrated for its charm and elegance, "The Swing" also became a subject of controversy during the Enlightenment era. Critics of the time viewed such frivolous depictions as contrary to the ideals of serious art, advocating instead for works that exalted the nobility of humanity.

Delve deeper into the secrets of this masterpiece through our dedicated digital resource, uncovering insights into its conservation, key themes, and enduring influence on contemporary culture.

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