Photo of Jean-Honore Fragonard


Jean-Honoré Fragonard was born in Graça, the son of glover François Fragonard and Françoise Petit. Cousin of anatomist Honoré Fragonard. First a student of J.B. Charden, and then François Boucher. Before going to Rome, he continued to study for three years under Charles-André van Loa. In 1752 the painting «Sacrifice of Ierovoama» received the Great Roman Prize and went to Rome. In Rome, he influences 17th-century Italian masters Baroccio, Soliman, Pietro da Cortona, and Tiepolo. Having befriended painter Hubert Robert here, he traveled with him and art lover Saint-Non to the south of Italy. The result of this trip was the edition of the vineyard: «Voyage de Naples et de Sicile,» in which most of the drawings have been engraving by Fragonard. Upon his return to Paris, he exhibited in the salon of 1765 a painting: «Corès and Callión» (located in the Louvre Museum in Paris), for which the Royal Academy of Arts accepted him as a member.

Fragonard, sneak a kiss. Hermitage
Soon after, however, he stopped practicing the historical line of painting and, following the tastes of the epoch, began to write idealistic genres and pastoralists in the spirit of Watteau and Bush, scenes of the intimate life of spicy, sometimes unabashedly erotic content, decorative panels, portraits, Miniatures, watercolors, pastels and, at times, engraving. His works became fashionable and were sold at a high price, which made him a good earner. But the revolutions broke him down, and the classicism, a new style in French art, founded by Jacques-Louis David, stripped him of his former popularity. In 1769 he married Marie-Anne Gérard (1745-1823), who was also an artist and had a daughter, Rosalie Fragonard (1769-1788).

In 1793, Fragonard left Paris for Grasse. In the early 19th century, he returned to Paris, where he died in 1806, almost completely forgotten.


Fragonard, the girl in bed, playing with the dog, Munich, Old Pinacoteca
In Fragonard’s large historical paintings, there is little originality; in his landscapes, nature is too overdubbed and embellished; but his genre paintings, though not alien to mannerisms, capture the viewer with the cleverly invented composition, gracefulness of the drawing. The elegance and delicacy of the color tones, the fluidity and juiciness of the writing, and the performance’s general taste. Among the best known are: «The Music Lesson,» «The Pastoral» (tempura indicates to the resting lovers under the tree on the dial), «The Bathing Ladies,» «The Sleeping Nymph,» «The Amur taking off the Gown of the Beauty» (La chemenlevée), «The Young Guitarist»; «The Young Reader» in the Washington Art Gallery; «Inspiration» and «Zavizka» in the Louvre Museum; «Farmer’s Family» and «Stealth Kiss» in the Hermitage; «In the absence of father and mother,» «Hide-and-Seek,» «Henry IV and Gabriel» and «Learned Dogs» in various private collections.