The Happy Accident of the Swing, Nicolas Delaunay
Engraving, roughly 20 x 16″ (51 x 42 cm); in the collection of the Art Institute Chicago
This wonderfully lush and textural engraving by Nicolas Delaunay is a copy of a famous painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. It was not uncommon for painters to have printmakers create copies of their most popular works, if they weren’t inclined to do it themselves.
Here the image (reversed, of course, because it’s a print) becomes a fascinating study in controlling value relationships with deeply textural line and hatching. Look at the range of values, from the dark leaves and branches to the delicate rendering of the tree in the distance to the bright sheen of the dress.
3 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Nicolas Delaunay engraving after Fragonard”
About the original hilarious painted ‘SWING story:
Commissioned by the notorious French libertine Baron de St. Julien as a portrait of his mistress, The Swing was to be painted to the following specificity: “I should like you to paint Madame seated on a swing being pushed by a Bishop. ”
While this odd request was turned down by other painters such as Doyen, a painter of more serious historical subjects, Fragonard leapt to the occasion, producing what became the most iconic work of the French Rococo.’
There’s even more to it!
Mr. the Baron says, while one shoe flies into the air: “Place me in a position where I can observe the legs of that charming girl. ” Ha ha ha ha ha
Ha! Shameless pandering. Thanks, Ælle.
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