Hello Everyone! As class continues on so does my studies, so this weeks post will focus on a work from the 18th century. During this time, the style of art called Rococo came about and was popular in France during its time. This style was characterized by its ornamental depictions of love, nature, leisure and youth. This style was meant to signify the shift away from the monarchy and push towards aristocracy. This culture was primarily focused on luxury and romantic intrigues.
The Swing by Jean Honore Fragonard is a great example of the art that came out of this century and represents the style. This painting is a depiction of a young woman in a pink lace dress being pushed on a swing by on older gentleman. Although, the narrative the painting creates leads me to believe the young woman tricked the older man to push her to she could see her forbidden lover in the overgrown rose garden below. The young woman flings off her shoe in a flirtatious manner to attract attention from her hidden lover.
The young woman has a very mischievous facial expression as well as body language. There is an angelic statue in the painting on the left that appears to be “shushing” over the garden, meaning to keep the secret of the young lovers meeting. The small dog dog barking near the innocent older man references fertility which is ironic being that the dog is barking giving away the lovers secret meeting. The even further the theme of love the artist depicted a statue of two baby cupids below the young woman to indicate being struck with love.
This scene of leisure with a hidden message of forbidden love lying within characterizes the aristocracy in France. The over indulgence of expression as well as pleasure caters towards this shift implemented by King Louis XIV. I appreciate the playfulness of this style was well as this painting. The forbidden lovers are rendered in such a theatrical way that it just adds to the notes of playfulness and whimsy.