National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS
The Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre Painting

Introduction | Watteau and the Fête Galante | Fashion and Gallantry | Chardin
Greuze and His Followers | Fragonard | Boilly | Image List | Exhibition Information


Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Stolen Kiss, c. 1786-1788Jean-Honoré Fragonard sometimes depicted such moralizing scenes, but he is best remembered for images of eroticism and flirtation. The Stolen Kiss is in some ways a return to the world of Watteau and De Troy in its theme of amorous pursuit, here quite explicit as the young man takes the girl by surprise to steal a kiss. By the 1780s Fragonard's painting style was much less free than that of his master Boucher, for example, or his own earlier work. In the second half of the eighteenth century, Parisian collectors were avidly acquiring seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish genre paintings, with their precise brushwork and attention to refinements of surface. Fragonard was in part responding to this taste for high finish.

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