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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, March 16, 2007

doesn't that tickle, mam'selle?

Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732-1806) was a master of French Rococo painting. Delicate, tender, pastel, beruffled, Rococo was an art movement suited to a society of light elegance. Such was the high society of Louis the XV's court. However, there was also a strong erotic streak in this society and to this art. How to portray it with taste and finesse? Well, here you are.
How long did it take you to realize that young lady isn't wearing any underwear? Not that anyone did at the time, but they didn't advertise the fact. Yet Fragonard, using bold drapery and curling rhythms of form, takes you round and round her hair, her hips, her plump feet, her dog, and so on until finally you find yourself coming to a halt, saying, "About those hips. . ."
Right now, she's an innocent and well-off girl snuggling her silky pet. But Fragonard knows, and is telling you in his own way, that she will soon be old enough to snuggle someone her own size. Her joy in her dog indicates that she'll be happy and generous to human beings. So watch how you treat your pets, lest you be painted making a statement you don't wish to make!
You can see this lovely work in Munich at the Alte Pinakothek.

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