The Swing Analysis

1 January 2017

It is currently being displayed within the “Wallace Collection” at London, the piece its self is of a young man hidden in the bushes, watching a woman on a swing, being pushed by her elderly husband, almost hidden in the shadows, and unaware of the lover. As the lady goes high on the swing, she lets the young man take a furtive peep under her dress; all while flicking her own shoe off in the direction of a Cupid and turning her back to two angelic cherubim on the side of her husband. The Swing Analysis Elements Within this painting I find that there are four important line elements that help lead the viewer’s eyes to the three main subjects.

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The first two lines that are prominent within this painting is of the swing’s support ropes, they seem to form a triangle shape that seems to point to the hidden young man reaching out for the swinging girl. Clearly the artist wanted their viewers to understand that this individual was important to the main theme of the painting and he made a great choice in doing so because these two lines or ropes help reinforce the desired effect. The next two lines are attached to the support ropes of the swing and are being held by another subject that plays an important role of the main theme.

These two ropes or lines form another triangle that points directly to the older husband, who is clearly an important subject within this painting and with these two triangles or four lines these two particular subjects appear to be playing a game of tug a war. The one thing that is obvious is the fact that this young lady is in between these two triangles making her appear to be the prize of the tug a war game that is being played. The artist’s color scheme seems to be of a delicate nature within their painting; it seems that the artist wanted to appeal more to the sensual rather than the intellectual because of its overall theme concept.

The juicy pinks, minty greens and frothy cream color tones makes the painting almost homely like a cup cake shop. For this outdoor scene, Fragonard utilized a soft dappled sunlight filtering through the trees and backlighting them, infusing the scene with a soft, seductive glow. The light hits the young lady on the swing, highlighting her fair skin and the creamy billows of fabric that swirl around her. In contrast, other aspects of the painting remain in shadow, such as the husband, possibly referencing his being “in the dark” as to his wife’s love affair.

Clearly the artist planed the values of the painting to revolve around this young lady, thus making her the main subject within this painting. This painting’s texture seems to be a smoothing effect that clearly reinforces the main concept of this piece. The fact that the artist used small brush strokes that keeps the edges soft, gives this painting an impression of being lighthearted or happy. The form within this painting is created by the swing; it is composed in a triangular shape, with the Baron and the husband forming the base of the pyramid, and the maiden in the air at the top of the triangle, in the center of the space.

She is illuminated by the soft lighting coming from above, and the fanciful trees form an oval frame for the action in the center. Principles The three subjects (The Young Lady), (The Older Husband) and (The Young Man) form a triangle but they are not equals within this painting. In fact, the young lady seems to be the dominant subject between the other two but the men of this theme seem to be equals, both in the dark and both have the same desire…the young woman.

In my opinion, all three form a symmetrical bond between each other and gives a sense of balance within the painting. The fact that the young lady is swinging equally between the two men further proves my theory of them being a symmetrical in nature. Though, it is clear that the young lady is the main focus point within the painting because her colors scheme and contrast are much brighter than the rest of the painting’s elements, everything else is darker. The contrast between light and shadow adds to the feeling that something illicit is taking place.

Each element does produce a form of movement within the painting, the young lady is much like a pendulum moving back and forth between the two men and it appears to have a steady rhythm when being viewed. It almost causes a rhythmic pattern within the painting making it easy for the viewer to gain the full concept and not overlook each element within. The painting overall seems to be pretty unified, nothing seems out of place and all of the elements visually fit together. Conclusion Judging from the style and type of clothing these three subjects are wearing this painting is from the 1700’s and is considered to be a Rococo styled painting.

The clothing also revealed that this was developed during a time that Paris was wealthy and during many artists would paint in similar styles. Love was a huge subject during this era and was a popular one, the statues within this particular painting is a dead giveaway because Cupid and his angelic minions are considered to be icons or agents of love. Currently, Fragonard’s “The Swing” holds a dear place in the hearts of pop culture and particularly high fashion, as it serves testament to the frivolity of the Rococo era, a period that the postmodern world attempts, at times, to emulate.

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