Jean-Honore Fragonard:
The Meeting

Click on the picture to see an enlarged version.

    • Oil on Canvas
    • c. 1771-73
    • Frick Collection, New York

In 1771, Fragonard was commissioned to paint a series of panels for the chateau at Louveciennes, the "love nest" of Madame du Barry, the beautiful mistress of Louis XV. His assigned theme was "The Progress of Love," and Fragonard selected to illustrate a variety of stratagems and tactics which lovers have always used. Obviously, the "Meeting" - usually a secret one and always in a pleasant garden - is a key element.

Five of these panels are housed in the Frick Museum in New York City, and include this painting plus The Pursuit and The Lover Crowned (all 1771-1773).

This charming picture, with its combination of imaginary landscape and aristocratic dress, is often presented as the epitome of ancien regime art. What are the elements that make it so?

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