FRAGONARD, Jean-Honoré
(b. 1732, Grasse, d. 1806, Paris)

The Swing

Oil on canvas, 81 x 64 cm
Wallace Collection, London

The painting was originally commissioned from a serious history painter by an unknown French nobleman (he was not the Baron the St Julien as has been assumed in the past): 'I desire', he said, 'that you should paint Madame (pointing to his mistress) on a swing which is being set in motion by a Bishop. You must place me where I can have a good view of the legs of this pretty little thing....'. The serious history painter could think of nothing else to say except to recommend M. Fragonard as a more suitable executant.

You can view other representations of the motif "The Swing."

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 19 minutes):
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme