Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Rococo and the Eighteenth Century

What is Fragonard’s The Swing?

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s (1732–1806) erotic painting The Swing (1756) is an example of a “boudoir painting,” so-called because its intimate subject was meant for private viewing. Fragonard accepted the commission to paint The Swing, after another artist, Gabriel-Frangois Doyen, declined to take on the project. The painting depicts a lush, expansive garden scene. At its center is a young woman wearing a flowing pink frock. Her apparent lover, a man in a gray suit wearing a white powdered wig, reclines below her while a cleric pushes her on a swing. The lady is shown rising just above the aristocrat, giving him a salacious view under her dress, shocking nearby cherubs. Her delicate, pink shoe pops off her pointed toe, in apparent acquiescence. The painting is famous for its radiant colors and sensual themes, and is another good example of the rococo style.

The Swing (1756), a rococo painting by French artist Jean Fragonard, depicts an erotic garden scene.


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