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Violent passion and love longing in the gallant paintings of Jean Honoré Fragonard

Violent passion and love longing in the gallant paintings of Jean Honoré Fragonard

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Jean Honoré Fragonard - French painter of the Rococo era, who managed to bring the image of flirtation and frivolity in his paintings to a certain absolute, when they have already lost their original message of love game, and become almost the meaning of life. We will talk about the work of Fragonard and his most characteristic paintings in this article.

Happy lovers

In the 1990s, the Hermitage was enriched with Fragonard's masterpiece "A Furtive Kiss", which immediately attracted the attention of everyone who was partial to good painting. Fragonard, like no one else, managed to show maximum ingenuity in depicting various gallant subjects without slipping into banality and vulgarity.

Sneak kiss

A girl was dancing at a ball, and wanted to take a scarf, stored in the next empty room of a luxurious mansion. And here her lover was waiting for her, or maybe just a persistent admirer, who did not miss his chance and quickly kissed the beauty. Fragonard perfectly managed to reflect on the girl's face the embarrassment and confusion - she simply did not have time to switch from the atmosphere of a social event taking place in the drawing room, when it was necessary to strictly observe certain proprieties, she did not expect that someone would kiss her at this moment, and she was not ready for it at all.

Reading Girl

By the way, this painting is characterized by an unusual, too smooth and elaborate for Fragonard manner of execution. He usually painted differently, in the style of the later Impressionists: broad, somewhat careless strokes, with contrasting light shading and intense color. Fragonard did not spend much time on technical artwork, focusing more on the very impression that his paintings make. Perhaps it was the fashion in France for neoclassical paintings with sharp lines and carefully worked out images, and Fragonard had to conform to it, painting longer and more carefully.

A game of whack-a-mole

And what happens if you hold back your desires for too long, Fragonard vividly showed in the painting "Latch". Young lovers finally managed to seclude themselves in the bedroom, and the young man, who is unable to tear himself away from his beloved, one hand is trying to close the latch, so that no stranger did not enter this intimate moment.

The latch

Perhaps a man is sick to death of abstinence, but his beloved does not want to give herself to him before legal marriage: a common thing at the time, since on the first wedding night the bride must be innocent or she will bring shame on herself and her family. But how can she be preserved in a society where gallantry and flirtation are elevated to the meaning of life?


The girl is afraid of intimacy before marriage and, despite her passion, tries to escape from her lover's embrace and leave the room. The man, who is wearing only underwear, is trying his best to hold her back. The girl is resisting more for the sake of propriety than anything else, and there is no exasperation or fear on her face, only unconcealed desire. Fragonard built the composition of the painting diagonally - the very bolt is brightly lit, and in the opposite corner lies an overturned chair and an apple resting on a table - a universally recognized biblical symbol of temptation and sin.

Love letter

In general, the outcome of this love grip is not difficult to predict. But few have managed to present such a plot without vulgarity, but only with consummate elegance, as Fragonard did.

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Beauty and savory. The best nude paintings from the Rococo era to Impressionist artwork

The last rococo artist who painted frivolous and "obscene" paintings

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