The Stolen Kiss

The Stolen Kiss, late 1780's

I’ve had people asking me about some of the paintings featured in my posts and thought I’d share the one in my header image.  I actually have this print on a canvas on the wall above my laptop.  I used it for inspiration for a scene in a WIP (work in progress).  The hero, Colin, goes after Elle and gets what he was after, thank you very much!

The artist, Jean-Honoré Fragonard (pronounced without the /d/ at the end) was a French painter whose work became all the rage for the wealthy art patrons of Louis XV’s pleasure-loving, licentious court and influenced what he painted: mostly scenes of love and voluptuousness, considered scandalous, but hugely popular with the hedonists of the day.  History lesson:  Louis the 15th was the French king just before the one who lost his head in the French Revolution.  So, the wild revelry was great while it lasted.

A Young Girl Reading, c. 1776

The reading girl in the yellow dress is an image much copied and reprinted, so you may have seen it before.  Another vastly popular painting is the one of the girl swinging while her lover checks under her skirts.  Ahem, yes, those French boys were naughty that way.

The Swing, 1767

So what happened to Fragonard, you ask?  Well, the French Revolution happened, that’s what.  And it cost him his private patrons (they got the axe, or guillotine as it were) and he decided it would be a good time to get the hell out of France himself.  Fragonard didn’t return to Paris until early in the 19th c. where he died in 1806, almost completely forgotten. 

For a half century after that he was ignored, not even mentioned in the 1873 edition of  History of Art.  Reevaluation by later scholars have changed that though, confirming his position among the all-time masters of French painting.

Okay boys and girls, that concludes our lesson for today.  You may get out your snacks and line up for recess.


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