art you should know / the swing

 jean-honore fragonard: the swing, 1767, shown at the phillip's collection in london. 

jean-honore fragonard: the swing, 1767, shown at the phillip's collection in london. 

the style:

rococo is funny style of art. it came after the the french baroque style and after king louis xiv, but before the revolution. i used to think that i loved rococo: it has pretty women in gorgeous dresses. but that is almost all there is to it. rococo as a whole lacks depth and meaning and favors frivolity and playfulness. often the style shows scenes of men and women falling in love, reading love letters etc. it was made for the upper class to hang in their homes, showing just where that society placed its value.

the swing by fragonard is one of the most well known rococo works. it shows a woman being playfully pushed on a swing (the man who pushes the swing is either her husband or a churchman), and a man casually laying beneath her (looking up her skirt). supposedly a gent of the upper class commissioned this painting of himself and his mistress. the swing is a symbol of sexuality, and the man beneath looks tousled and aroused. the girl's shoe is flying off towards a statue of cupid, the god of erotic love. essentially, that is the whole theme of this painting: erotic love. 

 can you spot the corner of the painting shown on the couch. when you rewatch the movie, because you will definitely rewatch it, be sure to look for the painting.

can you spot the corner of the painting shown on the couch. when you rewatch the movie, because you will definitely rewatch it, be sure to look for the painting.

the influence:

the reason i was so excited to talk about this painting today is not because of the erotic love, but because it was just in an awesome movie. baz luhrman's the great gatsby features this painting on the couches in tom buchanan's love nest. in fact, in fitzgerald's book he mention's the painting being somewhere in the house ('to move about was to stumble continually over scenes of ladies swinging in the gardens of versailles') . of course this painting would be appropriate for the apartment that tom keeps for myrtle, his mistress. it only makes sense and i love fitzgerald and luhrman for it. interestingly, after doing a little bit of research i found out this painting also had influence on a disney movie as well. you know what they always say about the hidden messages in disney movies. tangled derived its stylistic theme from the swing. supposedly this doesn't mean that anything else in the movie was influenced by it, but you have to wonder.