Let Us Relax Ctd: Jean Honoré Fragonard

fragonard-bathers

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806). was a French painter whose scenes of frivolity and gallantry are among the most complete embodiments of the Rococo spirit. He was a pupil of Chardin for a short while and also of Boucher, before winning the Prix de Rome in 1752. From 1756 to 1761 he was in Italy, where he eschewed the work of the approved masters of the High Renaissance, but formed a particular admiration for Tiepolo.

He had some success in his early career but later in life taste was already turning against his lighthearted style. He tried unsuccessfully to adapt himself to the new Neoclassical vogue, but in spite of the admiration and support of David he was ruined by the Revolution and died in poverty.

Fragonard was a prolific painter, but he rarely dated his works and it is not easy to chart his stylistic develop;ent. Alongside those of Boucher, his paintings seem to sum up an era. His delicate coloring, witty characterization, and spontaneous brushwork ensured that even his most erotic subjects are never vulgar, and his finest work has an irresistible verve and joyfulness.

A selection of his work can be found here and here.

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