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Fragonard's The Swing is in the Wallace Collection in London. The Wallace Collection has just opened again after being renovated. www.wallacecollection.org/ One of my favourite  paintings there is The Swing. That painting may seem like the ultimate in self indulgence of a floundering era but its unreal perspective, its impossibly dressed silken woman who is bound to fly off that swing when the branch breaks, and the obvious quest for pleasure in the way that silly man, probably her lover, is peeping up at her nether regions as she swings high into the tree scape, shows irony and sense of fun which is so often missing in classical painting. It wasn't so much a golden age but an impossible age which simply could not go on. The picture  embodies French wit, self mockery and wistfulness at the stupidity of humans.

The little slipper as it flies into the air indicates the frivolous pleasure of being so free, whirring through the air in a parabola which is bound to see it and up among the rose bushes, where the lover is hiding, perhaps its sweet, silken prettiness torn and scuffed. That little slipper poised momentarily in the air is so like a Disney Cinderella slipper that it seems to point to the future route of some of French art towards cartooning not just to mock the powerful and wealthy but as a form of artistic pleasure, which all good animation gives its audience.

The painting is full of symbolism. The old man gently swinging the girl cannot see the lover hidden in the bushes, having gone past a fence where he should not have trespassed. Her little dog is yapping at him, perhaps being displeased that his mistress is being disloyal. Two little putti behind her rest on a beehive to remind us of the stings of love. And the statue of cupid is putting his finger to his mouth as if saying he can keep a secret.

In 1767 life for the aristocracy was filled with pleasure  and they believed in flirtation. This was painted two decades before the revolution when pleasure was the ultimate goal of the rich. The girl is dressed in such a bright pink that she looks like a rose.

At the time this painting was created , Marie-Antoinette was Queen of France (1755-1792). She welcomed the commoner Rose Bertin as her dress-maker and style adviser. Even though Bertin was a commoner Marie-Antoinette was delighted with the clothes Bertin produced. Bertin started fashion by constantly launching new trends such as the Formal Court Dress, high hair styles and the muslin country gowns worn by Marie-Antoinette at Trianon. She quickly became known as the “Minister of Fashion”. So it is very likely that the girl in The Swing is wearing a dress made by Rose Bertin. At this time women were given work in fashion houses and they had far more economic freedom in such workshops than women after the Revolution, which was a male thing mainly.

The Swing was the very sort of painting that the Enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau and Diderot railed against and after the Revolution painting became noble and warlike, praising men's heroism rather than pleasure and female loveliness. As art The Swing will live forever as a lively, mischievous, witty look at how humans seek pleasure. The heroic phase of Neo-classical painting resulted in Jacques-Louis David’s most pivotal works, Death of Marat and Oath of the Horatii. These works embodied the Enlightenment thought of Diderot, Voltaire, and Rousseau, namely the ideas of basic human rights, modern scientific investigation, rationalism and moral rectitude.

www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl…

smarthistory.khanacademy.org/r…

en.chateauversailles.fr/histor…

www.oxfordartonline.com/public…

 

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aegiandyad
Posts as aegiandyad on NotTheTalk, the successor to Guardian Unlimited Talk
Artist
United Kingdom
We are passionate artists and art lovers with wide ranging tastes and interests. Our long range project is the creation of 'aegian' as an aesthetic hermaphrodite, trying to express the many facets of their being.

While his better half prefers to remain mysterious until she has decided how to start our journal, Mr A admits to having a London degree in Botany & Zoology and owning a succession of film and digital cameras. I am the man behind the lens, so there may not be many images of me submitted. We love beauty and I search for it amongst the mundane backgrounds of everyday reality as well as at fabulous gardens like the ones seen in some gallery pictures.

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:iconstormjem:
stormjem Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the Llama!
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:icontemplarwiegraf:
TemplarWiegraf Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Hey. Love your abstract galley. Keep the good work.
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:iconshadowofadriana:
ShadowOfAdriana Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014
hey, thanks for commenting and for the fav :) I really appreciate it :thanks:
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:icondunklerjazz:
dunklerJazz Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014   Photographer
Thanks for the watching.
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:iconaqualoop31:
Aqualoop31 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014   Artist
thx u very much for the llama cancan Llama...an important part of life 
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:iconlecristal:
lecristal Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thank you my friend for the deviant watch:iconmeawplz:
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:iconchronophontes:
Chronophontes Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi, welcome to Stereograms!
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:iconlecristal:
lecristal Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
:iconhug1plz:
thank you very much for the favs my friend
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:iconstormjem:
stormjem Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the fav!    Love 
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:icontheaschebloodprince:
theaschebloodprince Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That album by Touch you showed me was great!! Thank you very much for sharing it :love:
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