The Life of Fraganord

Essay by Sofiad11College, UndergraduateB, November 2013

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Jean-Honoré Fragonard was born on April 5th 1732 in Grasse, France. He is an only child of Françoise Petit and François Fragonard. Grasse is a small town located in the south of France. A few years after he was born his family moved to Paris in 1738.

When Fragonard was in his teens his parents sent him away to be an apprentice for a Parisian lawyer and notary in 1747. Fragonard displayed such a talent and desire for drawing and art that the lawyer suggested he be apprenticed under an artist. So he went on to François Boucher, but was sent to apprentice Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin for just six months and then he returned & worked in François Boucher's studio. Both men were Rococo painters. François Boucher recognized great potential in Fragonard, but he wasn't able to teach him the basic ideas of painting so he sent Fragonard away to gain more experience.

Fragonard began to study the elements of painting under Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin. Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin taught him the basics like mixing colors, forming shapes and forming dimensions. After six months with Chardin learning the basics and gaining experience Fragonard returned to François Boucher. Fragonard began to develop his own style of painting, but he also became a master of imitating other artists' work and style. He was able to copy Boucher's style so well and perfectly that eventually over time Boucher entrusted him with making the replicas of his own paintings.

In 1752, Boucher recommended that Fragonard enter in the Prix de Rome. The Prix de Rome was a scholarship for art students. The contest was organized by the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, and was usually only open to their students, but Fragonard was able to participate because of Boucher's support. The competitors must prove their talents by...