Nicolas Lancret was a French painter. Born in Paris, he was a brilliant depicter of light comedy which reflected the tastes and manners of French society under the regent Orleans, his first master was Pierre d'Ulin, but his acquaintance with and admiration for Watteau induced him to leave d'Ulin for Gillot, whose pupil Watteau had been. Lancret, who remained a pupil of Gillot from 1712–1713, was influenced by the older painter, whose typical slender figures can be found in many of his pupil's younger works. Two pictures painted by Lancret and exhibited on the Place Dauphine had a great success, which laid the foundation of his fortune, and, it is said, estranged Watteau, complimented as their author. In 1718 he was received as an Academician, from thereon becoming a respected artist amongst the admirers of Watteau, he completed works to decorate the Palace of Versailles, while his style was to prove popular with Frederick the Great. Lancret's populairty was reflected by the decision to make him a councillor at the Academie in 1735.
Lancret completed a significant proportion of which were engraved. Although he completed several portraits and historical pieces his favourite subjects were balls, village weddings and so forth. In this respect he was typical of Rococo artists; some have claimed Lancret's work is inferior to that of Watteau. In drawing and in painting his touch is considered intelligent but dry. Lancret's characteristics are due to the fact that he had been for some time in training under an engraver, it is considered that the artist produced his best work towards the latter end of his life, displaying, in the minds of several art historians, an increasing ability to create a sense of harmony between art and nature, as in Montreir de lanterne magique, a willingness to lend his, now bulkier, figures a firmer place in his compositions. These changes displayed the influence of Watteaus like L'Enseigne de Gersaint. Lancret's last painting, Family in a Garden, The National Gallery, is considered by Levey to be his'masterpiece'.
The scene, which depicts a family taking coffee, has an intimacy and hint of humour that are considered captivating. The work's flowing lines, Rococoesque harmony of pastel colours, painterly style and charming subject matter are seen to display a delicate sense of vitality and freshness that anticipate the works of both Thomas Gainsborough and Jean-Honoré Fragonard; the British Museum possesses an admirable series of studies by Lancret in red chalk, the National Gallery, shows four paintings—the "Four Ages of Man", cited by d'Argenville amongst the principal works of Lancret. Lancret was single for much of his life. Lancret was induced to marry her after finding her and her dying mother living in poverty in an attic room and hearing that the daughter was soon to be compelled to enter a convent. Lancret died of pneumonia on 14 September 1743; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Lancret, Nicolas". Encyclopædia Britannica. 16. Cambridge University Press.
P. 153. See d'Argenville, Vies des peintres. Nicolas Lancret at the WikiGallery.org
Denis Diderot was a French philosopher, art critic, writer, best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor, contributor to the Encyclopédie along with Jean le Rond d'Alembert. He was a prominent figure during the Enlightenment. Diderot began his education by obtaining a Master of Arts degree in philosophy at a Jesuit college in 1732, he considered working in the church clergy before studying law. When he decided to become a writer in 1734, his father disowned him for not entering one of the learned professions, he lived a bohemian existence for the next decade. He befriended philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1742. Though his work was broad as well as rigorous, it did not bring Diderot riches, he secured none of the posts that were given to needy men of letters. He saw no alternative to selling his library to provide a dowry for his daughter. Empress Catherine II of Russia heard of his financial troubles and commissioned an agent in Paris to buy the library, she requested that the philosopher retain the books in Paris until she required them, act as her librarian with a yearly salary.
Between October 1773 and March 1774, the sick Diderot spent a few months at the empress's court in Saint Petersburg. Diderot died of pulmonary thrombosis in Paris on 31 July 1784, was buried in the city's Église Saint-Roch, his heirs sent his vast library to Catherine II, who had it deposited at the National Library of Russia. He has several times been denied burial in the Panthéon with other French notables; the French government considered memorializing him in this fashion on the 300th anniversary of his birth, but this did not come to pass. Diderot's literary reputation during his lifetime rested on his plays and his contributions to the Encyclopédie. Denis Diderot was born in Champagne, his parents were Didier Diderot, a cutler, maître coutelier, his wife, Angélique Vigneron. Three of five siblings survived to adulthood, Denise Diderot and their youngest brother Pierre-Didier Diderot, their sister Angélique Diderot. According to Arthur McCandless Wilson, Denis Diderot admired his sister Denise, sometimes referring to her as "a female Socrates".
Diderot began his formal education at a Jesuit college in Langres, earning a Master of Arts degree in philosophy in 1732. He entered the Collège d'Harcourt of the University of Paris, he abandoned the idea of entering the clergy in 1735, instead decided to study at the Paris Law Faculty. His study of law was short-lived however and in the early 1740s, he decided to become a writer and translator; because of his refusal to enter one of the learned professions, he was disowned by his father, for the next ten years he lived a bohemian existence. In 1742, he befriended Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whom he met while watching games of chess and drinking coffee at the Café de la Régence. In 1743, he further alienated his father by marrying a devout Roman Catholic; the match was considered inappropriate due to Champion's low social standing, poor education, fatherless status, lack of a dowry. She was about three years older than Diderot; the marriage, in October 1743, produced a girl. Her name was Angélique, named after sister.
The death of his sister, a nun, in her convent may have affected Diderot's opinion of religion. She is assumed to have been the inspiration for his novel about a nun, La Religieuse, in which he depicts a woman, forced to enter a convent where she suffers at the hands of the other nuns in the community. Diderot had affairs with Mlle. Babuti, Madeleine de Puisieux, Sophie Volland and Mme de Maux, his letters to Sophie Volland are known for their candor and are regarded to be "among the literary treasures of the eighteenth century". Diderot's earliest works included a translation of Temple Stanyan's History of Greece. In 1745, he published a translation of Shaftesbury's Inquiry Concerning Virtue and Merit, to which he had added his own "reflections". In 1746, Diderot wrote his first original work: the Philosophical Thoughts. In this book, Diderot argued for a reconciliation of reason with feeling so as to establish harmony. According to Diderot, without feeling there is a detrimental effect on virtue, no possibility of creating sublime work.
However, since feeling without discipline can be destructive, reason is necessary to control feeling. At the time Diderot wrote this book. Hence there is a defense of deism in this book, some arguments against atheism; the book contains criticism of Christianity. In 1747, Diderot wrote The Skeptic's Walk in which a deist, an atheist, a pantheist have a dialogue on the nature of divinity; the deist gives the argument from design. The atheist says that the universe is better explained by physics, chemistry and motion; the pantheist says that the cosmic unity of mind and matter, which are co-eternal and comprise the universe, is God. This work remained unpublished till 1830; the local police—warned by the priests of another attack on Christianity—either seized the manuscript, or authorities forced Diderot give an undertaking that he would no
In the history of art, prehistoric art is all art produced in preliterate, prehistorical cultures beginning somewhere in late geological history, continuing until that culture either develops writing or other methods of record-keeping, or makes significant contact with another culture that has, that makes some record of major historical events. At this point ancient art begins, for the older literate cultures; the end-date for what is covered by the term thus varies between different parts of the world. The earliest human artifacts showing evidence of workmanship with an artistic purpose are the subject of some debate, it is clear that such workmanship existed by 40,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic era, although it is quite possible that it began earlier. In September 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the earliest known drawing by Homo sapiens, estimated to be 73,000 years old, much earlier than the 43,000 years old artifacts understood to be the earliest known modern human drawings found previously.
Engraved shells created by Homo erectus dating as far back as 500,000 years ago have been found, although experts disagree on whether these engravings can be properly classified as ‘art’. From the Upper Palaeolithic through to the Mesolithic, cave paintings and portable art such as figurines and beads predominated, with decorative figured workings seen on some utilitarian objects. In the Neolithic evidence of early pottery appeared, as did sculpture and the construction of megaliths. Early rock art first appeared during this period; the advent of metalworking in the Bronze Age brought additional media available for use in making art, an increase in stylistic diversity, the creation of objects that did not have any obvious function other than art. It saw the development in some areas of artisans, a class of people specializing in the production of art, as well as early writing systems. By the Iron Age, civilizations with writing had arisen from Ancient Egypt to Ancient China. Many indigenous peoples from around the world continued to produce artistic works distinctive to their geographic area and culture, until exploration and commerce brought record-keeping methods to them.
Some cultures, notably the Maya civilization, independently developed writing during the time they flourished, later lost. These cultures may be classified as prehistoric if their writing systems have not been deciphered; the earliest undisputed art originated with the Aurignacian archaeological culture in the Upper Paleolithic. However, there is some evidence that the preference for the aesthetic emerged in the Middle Paleolithic, from 100,000 to 50,000 years ago; some archaeologists have interpreted certain Middle Paleolithic artifacts as early examples of artistic expression. The symmetry of artifacts, evidence of attention to the detail of tool shape, has led some investigators to conceive of Acheulean hand axes and laurel points as having been produced with a degree of artistic expression. A zig-zag etching made with a shark tooth on a freshwater clam-shell around 500,000 years ago, associated with Homo erectus, was proposed as the earliest evidence of artistic activity in 2014. There are other claims of Middle Paleolithic sculpture, dubbed the "Venus of Tan-Tan" and the "Venus of Berekhat Ram".
In 2002 in Blombos cave, situated in South Africa, stones were discovered engraved with grid or cross-hatch patterns, dated to some 70,000 years ago. This suggested to some researchers that early Homo sapiens were capable of abstraction and production of abstract art or symbolic art. Several archaeologists including Richard Klein are hesitant to accept the Blombos caves as the first example of actual art. In September 2018 the discovery in South Africa of the earliest known drawing by Homo sapiens was announced, estimated to be 73,000 years old, much earlier than the 43,000 years old artifacts understood to be the earliest known modern human drawings found previously. In November 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the oldest known figurative art painting, over 40,000 years old, of an unknown animal, in the cave of Lubang Jeriji Saléh on the Indonesian island of Borneo. One of the oldest undisputed works of figurative art were found in the Schwäbische Alb, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
The earliest of these, the Venus figurine known as the Venus of Hohle Fels and the Lion-man figurine, date to some 40,000 years ago. Further depictional art from the Upper Palaeolithic period includes cave painting and portable art: Venus figurines like the Venus of Willendorf, as well as animal carvings like the Swimming Reindeer, Wolverine pendant of Les Eyzies, several of the objects known as bâtons de commandement. Paintings in Pettakere cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi are up to 40,000 years old, a similar date to the oldest European cave art, which may suggest an older common origin for this type of art in Africa. Monumental open-air art in Europe from this period includes the rock-art at Côa Valley and Mazouco in Portugal, Domingo García and Siega Verde in Spain, Rocher gravé de Fornols in France. A cave at Turobong in South Korea containing human remains has been found to contain carved deer bones and depictions of deer that may be as much as 40,000 years old. Petroglyphs of deer or reindeer found at Sokchang-ri may date to the Upper Paleolithic.
Potsherds in a style reminiscent of early Japanese work have been found at Kosan-ri on Jeju island, due to lower sea levels at the time, would have been accessible from Japan. The oldest petroglyphs are dated to approxi
The Salon, or Paris Salon, beginning in 1667 was the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Between 1748 and 1890 it was arguably the greatest annual or biennial art event in the Western world. At the 1761 Salon, thirty-three painters, nine sculptors, eleven engravers contributed. From 1881 onward, it has been managed by the Société des Artistes Français. In 1667, the royally sanctioned French institution of art patronage, the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, held its first semi-public art exhibit at the Salon Carré; the Salon's original focus was the display of the work of recent graduates of the École des Beaux-Arts, created by Cardinal Mazarin, chief minister of France, in 1648. Exhibition at the Salon de Paris was essential for any artist to achieve success in France for at least the next 200 years. Exhibition in the Salon marked a sign of royal favor. In 1725, the Salon was held in the Palace of the Louvre, when it became known as Salon or Salon de Paris.
In 1737, the exhibitions, held from 18 August 1737 to 5 September 1737 at the Grand Salon of the Louvre, became public. They were held, at first and biennially, in odd-numbered years, they would run for some weeks. Once made regular and public, the Salon's status was "never in doubt". In 1748 a jury of awarded artists was introduced. From this time forward, the influence of the Salon was undisputed; the Salon exhibited paintings floor-to-ceiling and on every available inch of space. The jostling of artwork became the subject of many other paintings, including Pietro Antonio Martini's Salon of 1785. Printed catalogues of the Salons are primary documents for art historians. Critical descriptions of the exhibitions published in the gazettes mark the beginning of the modern occupation of art critic; the French revolution opened the exhibition to foreign artists. In the 19th century the idea of a public Salon extended to an annual government-sponsored juried exhibition of new painting and sculpture, held in large commercial halls, to which the ticket-bearing public was invited.
The vernissage of opening night was a grand social occasion, a crush that gave subject matter to newspaper caricaturists like Honoré Daumier. Charles Baudelaire, Denis Diderot and others wrote reviews of the Salons; the 1848 revolution liberalized the Salon. The amount of refused works was reduced. In 1849 medals were introduced; the conservative and academic juries were not receptive to the Impressionist painters, whose works were rejected, or poorly placed if accepted. The Salon opposed the Impressionists' shift away from traditional painting styles. In 1857 the Salon jury turned away an unusually high number of the submitted paintings. An uproar resulted from regular exhibitors, rejected. In order to prove that the Salons were democratic, Napoleon III instituted the Salon des Refusés, containing a selection of the works that the Salon had rejected that year, it opened on 17 May 1863. The Impressionists held their own independent exhibitions in 1874, 1876, 1877, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882 and 1886.
In 1881, the government withdrew official sponsorship from the annual Salon, a group of artists organized the Société des Artistes Français to take responsibility for the show. In December 1890, the leader of the Société des Artistes Français, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, propagated the idea that Salon should be an exhibition of young, not-yet awarded, artists. Ernest Meissonier, Puvis de Chavannes, Auguste Rodin and others rejected this proposal and made a secession, they created the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and its own exhibition referred to in the press as the Salon du Champ de Mars or the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux–Arts. In 1903, in response to what many artists at the time felt was a bureaucratic and conservative organization, a group of painters and sculptors led by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Auguste Rodin organized the Salon d'Automne. J. J. Marquet de Vasselot: Répertoire des catalogues du musée du Louvre, 1793–1917 Thomas Crow: Painters and Public Life in 18th Century Paris.
Yale University Press 1987 Patricia Mainardi: The End of the Salon: Art and the State in the Early Third Republic, Cambridge University Press, 1993. Fae Brauer and Conspirators: The Paris Salons and the Modern Art Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars, 2013. Albert Boime, "The Salon des Refuses and the Evolution of Modern Art," Art Quarterly 32: 41 1-26 Margo Bistis, "Bad Art: The Decline of Academic Art in the Caricatural Salon," International Journal of Comic Art 7, no.1. Timeline of the Paris Salons Harriet Griffiths and Alister Mill, Database of Salon Artists, 1827-1850
French art consists of the visual and plastic arts originating from the geographical area of France. Modern France was the main centre for the European art of the Upper Paleolithic left many megalithic monuments, in the Iron Age many of the most impressive finds of early Celtic art; the Gallo-Roman period left a distinctive provincial style of sculpture, the region around the modern Franco-German border led the empire in the mass production of finely decorated Ancient Roman pottery, exported to Italy and elsewhere on a large scale. With Merovingian art the story of French styles as a distinct and influential element in the wider development of the art of Christian Europe begins. France can be said to have been a leader in the development of Romanesque art and Gothic art, before the Renaissance led to Italy becoming the main source of stylistic developments until France matched Italy's influence during the Rococo and Neoclassicism periods and regained the leading role in the Arts from the 19th to the mid-20th century.
The earliest known European art is from the Upper Palaeolithic period of between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago and France has a large selection of extant pre-historic art from the Châtelperronian, Solutrean and Magdalenian cultures. This art includes cave paintings, such as the famous paintings at Pech Merle in the Lot in Languedoc which date back to 16,000 BC, located near the village of Montignac, in the Dordogne, dating back to between 13,000 and 15,000 BC, or as far back as 25,000 BC, the Cosquer Cave, the Chauvet Cave dating back to 29,000 BC, the Trois-Frères cave. Ornamental beads, bone pins, carvings, as well as flint and stone arrowheads are among the prehistoric objects from the area of France. Speculations exist that only Homo sapiens are capable of artistic expression, however, a recent find, the Mask of la Roche-Cotard—a Mousterian or Neanderthal artifact, found in 2002 in a cave near the banks of the Loire River, dating back to about 33,000 B. C.—now suggests that Neanderthal humans may have developed a sophisticated and complex artistic tradition.
In the Neolithic period, megalithic monuments, such as the dolmens and menhirs at Carnac, Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens and elsewhere in France begin to appear. In France there are some 5,000 megalithics monuments in Brittany, where there is the largest concentration of these monuments. In this area there is wide variety of these monuments that have been well preserved, like menhirs, dolmen and cairns; the Cairn of Gavrinis in southern Brittany is an outstanding example of megalithic art: its 14 meters inner corridor is nearly adorned with ornamental carvings. The great broken menhir of Er-Grah, now in four pieces was more than 20 meters high making it the largest menhir erected. France has numerous painted stones, polished stone axes, inscribed menhirs from this period; the Grand-Pressigny area was known for its precious silex blades and they were extensively exported during the Neolithic. In France from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, one finds a variety of archaeological cultures, including the Rössen culture of c.
4500–4000 BC, Beaker culture of c. 2800–1900 BC, Tumulus culture of c. 1600–1200 BC, Urnfield culture of c. 1300–800 BC, and, in a transition to the Iron Age, Hallstatt culture of c. 1200–500 BC. For more on Prehistoric sites in Western France, see Prehistory of Brittany. From the Proto-Celtic Urnfield and Hallstat cultures, a continental Iron Age Celtic art developed; this art drew on native and the Mediterranean, oriental sources. The Celts of Gaul are known through numerous tombs and burial mounds found throughout France. Celtic art is ornamental, avoiding straight lines and only using symmetry, without the imitation of nature nor ideal of beauty central to the classical tradition, but often involves complex symbolism; this artwork includes a variety of styles and incorporates subtly modified elements from other cultures, an example being the characteristic over-and-under interlacing which arrived in France only in the sixth century, although it was used by Germanic artists. The Celtic Vix grave in present-day Burgundy revealed the largest bronze crater of the Antiquity, imported by Celtic aristocrats from Greece.
The region of Gaul came under the rule of the Roman Empire from the first century BC to the fifth century AD. Southern France, Provence and Languedoc, is known for its many intact Gallo-Roman monuments. Lugdunum, modern Lyon, was at the time of the Roman Empire the largest city outside Italy and gave birth to two Roman Emperors; the city still boasts. Monumental works from this period include the amphitheater in Orange, the "Maison Carrée" at Nîmes, one of the best preserved Roman temples in Europe, the city of Vienne near Lyon, which features an exceptionally well preserved temple, a circus as well as other remains, the Pont du Gard aqueduct, in an exceptional state of preservation, the Roman c
François Boucher was a French painter and etcher, who worked in the Rococo style. Boucher is known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes, decorative allegories, pastoral scenes, he was the most celebrated painter and decorative artist of the 18th century. A native of Paris, Boucher was the son of a lesser known painter Nicolas Boucher, who gave him his first artistic training. At the age of seventeen, a painting by Boucher was admired by the painter François Lemoyne. Lemoyne appointed Boucher as his apprentice, but after only three months, he went to work for the engraver Jean-François Cars. In 1720, he won the elite Grand Prix de Rome for painting, but did not take up the consequential opportunity to study in Italy until five years due to financial problems at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. On his return from studying in Italy he was admitted to the refounded Académie de peinture et de sculpture on 24 November 1731, his morceau de réception was his Rinaldo and Armida of 1734.
Boucher married Marie-Jeanne Buzeau in 1733. The couple had three children together. Boucher became a faculty member in 1734 and his career accelerated from this point as he was promoted Professor Rector of the Academy, becoming inspector at the Royal Gobelins Manufactory and Premier Peintre du Roi in 1765. Boucher died on 30 May 1770 in his native Paris, his name, along with that of his patron Madame de Pompadour, had become synonymous with the French Rococo style, leading the Goncourt brothers to write: "Boucher is one of those men who represent the taste of a century, who express and embody it." Boucher is famous for saying that nature is "trop verte et mal éclairée". Boucher was associated with the gemstone engraver Jacques Guay, he mentored the Moravian-Austrian painter Martin Ferdinand Quadal as well as the neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David in 1767. Boucher made a series of drawings of works by Guay which Madame de Pompadour engraved and distributed as a handsomely bound volume to favored courtiers.
Boucher took inspiration from artists such as Antoine Watteau. Boucher's early works celebrate the idyllic and tranquil portrayal of nature and landscape with great elan. However, his art forgoes traditional rural innocence to portray scenes with a definitive style of eroticism as his mythological scenes are passionate and intimately amorous rather than traditionally epic. Boucher's paintings of a flirtatious shepherd and shepherdess in a woodland setting, featured in The Enjoyable Lesson of 1748 and An Autumn Pastoral of 1749, were based upon characters in a 1745 play by Boucher's close friend Charles-Simon Favart. Boucher's characters in those paintings inspired a pair of figurines created by the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, c. 1757-66. Marquise de Pompadour, whose name became synonymous with Rococo art, was a great admirer of his work. Marquise de Pompadour is referred to as the "godmother of Rococo" and Boucher’s portraits were central to her self-presentation and cultivation of her image.
For instance, Boucher's'Sketch for a Portrait of Madame de Pompadour', displayed in the Starhemburg room at Waddesdon Manor, acts as a surviving example of the oil preparation prior to the, now lost, portrait. In one hand she holds her hat, in the other she picks up a pearl bracelet with a portrait of the king – symbolising the relationship upon which her status depends. Boucher's paintings such as The Breakfast, a familial scene, show how he was as a master of the genre scene, where he used his own wife and children as models; these intimate family scenes are contrasting to the licentious style seen in his Odalisque portraits. The dark-haired version of the Odalisque portraits prompted claims by the art critic Denis Diderot that Boucher was "prostituting his own wife", the Blonde Odalisque was a portrait that illustrated the extramarital relationships of the King. Boucher gained lasting notoriety through such private commissions for wealthy collectors and, after Diderot expressed his disapproval, his reputation came under increasing critical attack during the last years of his career.
Along with his painting, Boucher designed theater costumes and sets, the ardent intrigues of the comic operas of Charles Simon Favart paralleled his own style of painting. Tapestry design was a concern. For the Beauvais tapestry workshops he first designed a series of Fêtes italiennes in 1736, which proved to be successful and rewoven over the years, commissioned in 1737, a suite of the story of Cupid and Psyche. During two decades' involvement with the Beauvais tapestry workshops Boucher produced designs for six series of hangings in all, like the tapestry showing Psyche and the Basketmaker from 1741–1742. Boucher was called upon for designs for court festivities organized by that section of the King's household called the Menus-Plaisirs du Roi and for the opera and for royal châteaux Versailles and Choisy, his designs for all of the aforementioned augmented his earlier reputation, resulting in many engravings from his work and reproduction of his designs on porcelain and biscuit-ware at the Vincennes and Sèvres factories.
The death of Oudry in 1755 put an end to its contribution to Beauvais but his collaboration with the Gobelins lasted until 1765, when he stepped down from his position as an inspector. Boucher was a prolific and varied draftsman, his drawings served not only as preparatory studies for his paintings and as designs for prin
Jean-Honoré Fragonard was a French painter and printmaker whose late Rococo manner was distinguished by remarkable facility and hedonism. One of the most prolific artists active in the last decades of the Ancien Régime, Fragonard produced more than 550 paintings, of which only five are dated. Among his most popular works are genre paintings conveying an atmosphere of intimacy and veiled eroticism. Jean-Honoré Fragonard was born at Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes, the son of François Fragonard, a glover, Françoise Petit. Fragonard was articled to a Paris notary when his father's circumstances became strained through unsuccessful speculations, but showed such talent and inclination for art that he was taken at the age of eighteen to François Boucher. Boucher recognized the youth's rare gifts but, disinclined to waste his time with one so inexperienced, sent him to Chardin's atelier. Fragonard studied for six months under the great luminist returned more equipped to Boucher, whose style he soon acquired so that the master entrusted him with the execution of replicas of his paintings.
Though not yet a pupil of the Academy, Fragonard gained the Prix de Rome in 1752 with a painting of Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Golden Calf, but before proceeding to Rome he continued to study for three years under Charles-André van Loo. In the year preceding his departure he painted the Christ washing the Feet of the Apostles now at Grasse Cathedral. On 17 September 1756, he took up his abode at the French Academy in Rome presided over by Charles-Joseph Natoire. While at Rome, Fragonard contracted a friendship with Hubert Robert. In 1760, they toured Italy together, it was in these romantic gardens, with their fountains, grottos and terraces, that Fragonard conceived the dreams which he was subsequently to render in his art. He learned to admire the masters of the Dutch and Flemish schools, imitating their loose and vigorous brushstrokes. Added to this influence was the deep impression made upon his mind by the florid sumptuousness of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, whose works he had an opportunity to study in Venice before he returned to Paris in 1761.
In 1765 his Coresus et Callirhoe secured his admission to the Academy. It was made the subject of a pompous eulogy by Diderot, was bought by the king, who had it reproduced at the Gobelins factory. Hitherto Fragonard had hesitated between religious and other subjects; the portrait of Denis Diderot has had its attribution to Fragonard called into question. A lukewarm response to these series of ambitious works induced Fragonard to abandon Rococo and to experiment with Neoclassicism, he married Marie-Anne Gérard, herself a painter of miniatures, on 17 June 1769 and had a daughter, Rosalie Fragonard, who became one of his favourite models. In October 1773, he again went to Italy with Pierre-Jacques Onézyme Bergeret de Grancourt and his son, Pierre-Jacques Bergeret de Grancourt. In September 1774, he returned through Vienna, Dresden and Strasbourg. Back in Paris Marguerite Gérard, his wife's 14-year-old sister, became his pupil and assistant in 1778. In 1780, he had a son, Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard, who became a talented painter and sculptor.
The French Revolution deprived Fragonard of his private patrons: they were either guillotined or exiled. The neglected painter deemed it prudent to leave Paris in 1790 and found shelter in the house of his cousin Alexandre Maubert at Grasse, which he decorated with the series of decorative panels known as the Les progrès de l'amour dans le cœur d'une jeune fille painted for Château du Barry. Fragonard returned to Paris early in the nineteenth century, where he died in 1806 completely forgotten. For half a century or more he was so ignored that Wilhelm Lübke's 1873 art history volume omits the mention of his name. Subsequent reevaluation has confirmed his position among the all-time masters of French painting; the influence of Fragonard's handling of local colour and expressive, confident brushstroke on the Impressionists cannot be overestimated. Fragonard's paintings, alongside those of François Boucher, seem to sum up an era. One of Fragonard's most renowned paintings is The Swing known as The Happy Accidents of the Swing, an oil painting in the Wallace Collection in London.
It is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the rococo era, is Fragonard's best known work. The painting portrays a young gentleman concealed in the bushes, observing a lady on swing being pushed by her spouse, standing in the background, hidden in the shadows, as he is unaware of the affair; as the lady swings forward, the young man gets a glimpse under her dress. According to Charles Collé's memoirs a young nobleman had requested this portrait of his mistress seated on a swing, he asked first Gabriel François Doyen