The Swing by Fragonard

The Swing
by Jean-Honore Fragonard
One of my all time favourite pictures is this smallish painting "The Swing" by the French painter Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732 - 1806)

It's home is the oval drawing room in  the Wallace Collection which is situated in Manchester Square in London, just behind the unbelievable bustle that is Oxford Street.
What impresses me about the Wallace Collection is how different it is to the brash street life outside, how clean and polished it is, and how full of the most exquisite objects the light and airy rooms are.
I first came across the Wallace Collection in the swinging sixties, and have been visiting it ever since. It seemed the perfect foil to the hectic lifestyle we all liked to think we lead.
"The Swing" is such a wonderfully composed painting, painted with precision and a theatricality. The colours are sumptuous, a blue green, with the sugar pink providing the climax. Of course the subject is mildly erotic, perhaps it was very erotic back in 1767 when it was painted. I think what I like about this picture is the harmony of the colours, the beautiful detail, the nostalgia for a life that didn't really exist and a feeling of lightness and slightly naughty joy.


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