National Geographic : 1956 Nov
© National Geographic Society 654 National Gallery of Art (Kress Collection, loan) JEAN-HONORE FRAGONARD (1752-1806), French * The Swing Just before the French Revolution the aristocracy turned from the formality of Versailles palace life to the pursuit of pleasure in nature. It became the custom to build pastoral paradises filled with transplanted trees, artificial brooks, and temples of love. There the elite dallied away the summer days, often as not playing at being shepherds and shepherdesses. No one captured the airy frivolity pf this life better than Fragonard. Here, in what the author has described as "an enchanted garden where no one grows old and pleasure is without ennui," the artist shows nobility playing with two currently popular toys, telescope and swing. The exaggerated landscape combines features of France and Italy.