The Stolen Kiss (Fragonard)

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The Stolen Kiss
Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Stolen Kiss.jpg
Artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Year 1786
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 168.5 cm × 168.5 cm (66.3 in × 66.3 in)
Location Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Stolen Kiss is a painting by French painter Jean Honore Fragonard (1732–1806) from the end of the 1780s, depicting a secretive romance. The painting was hosted in the collection of the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg. The style of the painting was characteristic of the French Rococo period and was favoured by the wealthy art patrons of his time.[1]


The painting depicts a passionate kiss between two lovers, showing a young lady in creme-coloured silk gown who has left her company for a secret meeting with a young man. The composition is diagonal, made up by an axis composed through her leaning figure, the shawl and the balcony door opening from the outside, ending with the table the shawl is draped over. The painting offers an array of compositional contrasts between colours and shadows: the spatial intersections are complex.[1][2][3][4]

Jean-Honoré Fragonard's works display the kind of eroticism and voluptuousness and the liking for romantic folly that was popular before the French Revolution among French aristocrats. Fragonard includes scenes of voyeurism in his paintings. This scene is depicting the stolen kiss in lavish surroundings, containing luxurious details of textures, silks and lace, like the rug with flower pattern, silk draperies, her shawl on the chair, the elegantly clad ladies that are visible through the open door. The dominant French culture influenced how Fragonard chose his themes, that were mostly erotic or love scenes, painted for Louis XV's pleasure-loving court's enjoyment.[1][2][3][4]


  1. ^ a b c "Jean Honore Fragonard, Stolen-Kiss". Retrieved March 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ a b Jones, Jonathan (9 December 2000). "Portrait of the Week: Young Woman, Jean-Honore Fragonard (c 1769)". The Guardian. Retrieved March 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ a b Rosenberg, Pierre (1988). Fragonard. Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 978-0-87099-516-3.
  4. ^ a b "The Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre Painting". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved March 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)