Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Swing, c. 1767, oil on canvas. The Wallace Collection, London; Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Swing, c. 1775/1780, oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Fragonard painted two versions ofThe Swing, the intimate painting in the Wallace Collection, London and the very large canvas in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The latter image is far less scandalous.
In the Wallace picture, a young man hides in the bushes at left, watching a beautiful woman swing through the air, while her husband pushes, almost hidden in shadow at right. A statue of cupid with one hand over his lips reminds the viewer that we are witnessing a secret affair. Did you notice the girl’s shoe suspended in midair?
Fragonard’s painting inspired the opening scene in the off-Broadway/Broadway musical Contact.