Art history is the study of art works through the artistic and historical perspectives. The artistic
and historical context of an art work is affected by the period of time in which it is produced. For instance,
the beginning of the eighteenth century is referred to as the Rococo. One of the Rococo artists is Jean -
Honore Fragonard. Fragonard was a student of Francois Boucher. Boucher is also considered to be a
Rococo artist. Fragonard’s skills of the Rococo style almost exceeded his instructor. One of Fragonard’s
paintings, “ The Swing”, depicted the Rococo style through the usage of loose colors, the portrayal of
relaxed facial expressions, and the playful content.
The Rococo style originated in France during the 1700s. The word, Rococo means pebble in
French. This word is often referred to as ornaments ( sea shells and pebbles) used for the interior of an
architecture. The Rococo initiated after the death of Louis XIV in 1715. The reign of Louis XIV was
very strict and rigorous. After the King’s death, Louis XV took over the crown and the society became
more permissive. This lenient atmosphere influenced the style of art works produced at that time.
Paintings in the Rococo period usually portrays figures in a landscape or a hideaway. Art works of the
Rococo became more playful, romantic, and loose.
The loose colors in “The Swing”, by Fragonard, is an artistic factor of the Rococo period. The
usage of lighter colors such as the pink dress that the lady on the swing is wearing portrays the Rococo
style. In addition to the light

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pink, the cool colors of green and blue are also commonly used. The other two men involved in this scene
is painted with greenish blue clothing. Both of these men are fitted into the green and blue landscape. The
trees and bushes are painted with a variation of the color green. Above the trees and bushes is the light
blue sky. These light and cool colors used , gives the viewer a feeling of loose and free.
In addition to the colors , the facial expressions in the painting also deliver the Rococo style to the
viewer. The smile on the lady’s face shows her joyful and light spirit. Sharing her joy are the two other
men. These two men’s facial expression also gives a sense of happiness and calmness.
Besides the color and facial expression, the content of the painting is also influenced by the
Rococo period. In this painting, Fragonard painted a young lady on a swing in a green and blue
landscape. Accompany her are two other men. One of them is an old bishop and the other is her lover.
She is being pushed by an old bishop, while her lover is on the other side of the swing staring up at her.
The young lady freely kicks off her shoe to the statue, who has his finger over his lips. This content of the
painting present a feeling of romantic, playful, and loose.
“The Swing” by Fragonard has depicted the Rococo style. The Rococo period has been known
for the delicate colors and the romantic and playful contents. Both of these factors are seen in “The
Swing”.