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

Marie-Madeleine Guimard (Fanciful Figure)

Oil on canvas, 82 x 65 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

In 1769, Fragonard painted fourteen "fanciful figures" eight of which are now in the Louvre. These spirited portraits, whether painted from life or invented, with highly coloured faces and broad strokes of red and gold, represent the vision of an inspired poet capturing the essence of his subject, whether it is Diderot's ardent features or Mademoiselle Guimard's pleasing, if irregular face and arched bust in a burgundy bodice. Here Fragonard can be compared to Frans Hals or Rembrandt, because his artistic initiatives were nourished by an unusual degree of cultivation.

Mademoiselle Guimard was a dancer.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 4 minutes):
Gioacchino Rossini: La Danza