Jean-Honore Fragonard: Analysis of Diana at Rest and The Visti to the Nursery

Essay by sardiddleUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, August 2006

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French Rococo painter, Jean-Honore Fragonard, is one of the most noted artists of the eighteenth century. Many aspects played a significant role in the influence of the works that Fragonard produced, including the aristocracy, his patrons, life experience, and preceding artists to name a few. While many Rococo artists depicted scenes of aristocracy at play, Fragonard mastered these scenes while also incorporating distinctive erotic connotations. Although strong sexual innuendo was exceptionally evident in his paintings, Fragonard was tasteful in such portrayals. He was a paragon in creating beauty from what many viewed as vulgar or lewd. Despite his affinity for eroticism and the female body, Fragonard also created virtuous works in his later career.

Originally, Fragonard's subject matter was typically religious or historical. However, when the Rococo style started to rise in popularity in France, Fragonard quickly changed his style to suit the patrons. Fragonard not only changed his style, but once he did, he pushed the envelope of the Rococo style.

Although Jean-Honoré Fragonard first began to study under Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, it was Fragonard's next master, François Boucher, who probably had the most significant influence on Fragonard, though Italian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo had a significant influence on Fragonard as well. Upon comparing the works of Chardin and Fragonard, the viewer can clearly see how eroticism seems to dominate both of their works. Both artists' works frequently depict lovers indulging themselves in frivolous behavior.

Like most Rococo artists, Fragonard frequently employed frivolity as his subject matter. Fragonard's Diana at Rest (date unknown) reflects the Classical reference that further characterized the Rococo period. The painting portrays a Greco-Roman mythological goddess, Diana, resting with a cupid sleeping at her side. Both the cupid and the Classical reference to mythology are typical of art produced in the Rococo style. The Classical...