The Swinging Women of Watteau and Fragonard Donald Posner

The article of Fragonard of 18th Century in its erotic pictorial themes, it revolves around some hidden meanings, sublime subtexts, symbolisms and contextual atmosphere. One of the great works of the paintings is the Fragonard’s 1767 “The Swing.”

The symbolic connotations of the women on the art swing; first on the surface one sees a woman on the swing that is pushed by an older man who is like hiding in the shadows and in the bushes too; a younger boy is hiding. The woman swings upward the young man peers under her dress as she flings off a shoe towards Cupid. Therefore, the story that surrounds the commissioning of the paint contributes to our conceptualization of the whole narrative.

Gabriel Francois Doyen, who is the painter told Charles Cole, the writer that he was sent for by a “gentleman of the court and he explained that met the gentleman at a pleasure house and he stayed with his mistress. The man explained that the image of the swing was a desirable one. While Doyen personally was not comfortable in painting the piece, he, therefore, referred the gentleman to contact Fragonard.

The piece, the wing, was painted as a memento of the illegal affairs as portrayed in the painting by the cupids which silence the gestures. Additionally, most of the art historians argued that the wing contributes a lot to the secrecy of the affairs in the painting. In as much as the images in the painting appeared before the 17th century, many of its pieces appeared in the Swing, which was of the 18th century, and many continued in the work of the Watteau’s, The Wing.

Some of other factors are the grand sexual themes that motivate the image. While the women were swinging up, giving the young man a view of the upper parts of her skirt, one would understand that there seems to exist an air of “joyous sexuality” which is an erotic abandon. Therefore, it is essential to note that in the art of the time, a possible motif of the shoeless woman may have carried an established connotation. Most of the French paintings at the moment presented a shoeless woman in the context vividly indicated a loss of virginity.

Other erotic metaphors are Posner. It is in The Swing where the woman is not passive at all, like when the woman teases and made an invitation to her secret lover in a forbidden lovemaking, however, the lover of the woman is not responsible for the lady’s swinging motion. The young man passively enjoyed seeing what the woman was willing to offer him though the scene of the swinging was a bit unlikely and dangerous. Therefore, the inappropriate timing of the swinging suggested an informal character, but there was still tension and excitement between the lovers.

The Cupid which was on the left-hand-side dignified silence, which was a gesture that suggested that the affairs between the lovers were a secret. But in the real sense, the pictures in the paintings of the swing acquired a more general character different from that of a private joke.

Some of the symbolic elements that suggested that the two gentlemen involved in a secret illicit affair were the man’s hat. In most of the 18th-century, paintings covered not only the lover’s heads but something else too together with the woman’s shoe which flew off her feet easily towards her lover.

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