The Swing (painting)  

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The Swing (detail) (ca. 1767) by Fragonard
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The Swing (detail) (ca. 1767) by Fragonard

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
French erotica

The Swing (L'Escarpolette), also known as The Happy Accidents of the Swing (Les Hasards Heureux de l'Escarpolette, the original title), is an 18th century oil painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. It is considered as one of the masterpieces of the rococo era and of French erotica. It depicts a woman sitting on a swing. A peeping tom lying at her feet is trying to glare upskirt.

The painting

The painting depicts a young man hidden in the bushes, watching a woman on a swing, being pushed by a bishop. As the lady goes high on the swing, she let him take a furtive peep under her dress. As a symbol of loss of virginity, the lady let one of her shoes fly into the air.

According to Charles Collé's memoirs, a young nobleman asked first Gabriel François Doyen to make this painting of him and his mistress. Not comfortable with this frivolous work, Doyen refused and passed on the commission to Fragonard.

Notable derived works

  • 1782: Les Hazards Heureux de l'Escarpolettes, etching and engraving by Nicolas de Launay (1739–1792), 62.3 × 45.5 cm (24 ⅝ × 17 ⅞ in)
  • 2001: The Swing (after Fragonard), a headless lifesize recreation of Fragonard's model clothed in African fabric, by Yinka Shonibare
  • 1972: Sailin' Shoes, cover art of record album by American rock band Little Feat, artwork by Neon Park




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Swing (painting)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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