honore-fragonard

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Swing, 1767-68, oil on canvas, 81 × 64 cm, Wallace Collection, London. Source

The epitome of aristocratic naughtiness! A girl sits on an outdoor swing pushed by an elderly gentleman, whilst a younger man lies hidden in the foreground foliage. As the girl swings forward, she lifts her leg and tosses her shoe towards a marble statue, a movement that also grants her hiding lover a rather racy view. The Swing is one of the most famous works of the French Rococo period.

An Untamed Maiden

Horace, Odes 3.11, ll. 1-12

O Mercury – for, heeding your teaching,
Amphion moved stones by singing -
And you, tortoise-shell lyre, so cunning
At resounding with your seven strings
(Once upon a time you were neither
Vocal nor pleasing, but now you are welcome
At rich men’s tables and temples alike),
Sing the sorts of measures that Lyde
Will harken to with her stubborn ears -
Lyde, who, like a three-year-old filly
In broad pastures, sports and leaps
And dreads to be touched, as yet knowing nothing
Of marriage, still too rude and raw
To take to herself a shameless husband.

Mercuri, - nam te docilis magistro
movit Amphion lapides canendo, -
tuque testudo resonare septem
    callida nervis,
nec loquax olim neque grata, nunc et
divitum mensis et amica templis,
dic modos, Lyde quibus obstinatas
    applicet auris,
quae velut latis equa trima campis
ludit exultim metuitque tangi,
nuptiarum expers et adhuc protervo
    cruda marito.

The Girl with the Marmot, Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806)