The Pursuit is a part of the set of four paintings The Progress of Love. It was painted by Jean-Honore Fragonard, one of the most prominent representatives of the French rococo. In his article, Kissel (2009) admits that, “Few works testify more powerfully to the elegance, sensuousness and delicate beauty of that lost world than “The Progress of Love.”
Born in Grasse, Fragonard got artistic education in Paris where he studied with Chardin and Boucher who were later called “the greatest painters of the early 18th century” (Kissel, 2009). Fragonard reached the peak of his popularity at the age of 23 when he got the honorary title of the Painter to the King. Later, he was commissioned to decorate the dining room in the chateau of the Countess du Barry.
The Pursuit, the Meeting is the second part of the set. It depicts the young woman who is leaping over the short wall (Kissel, 2009). The beginning of love is filled with the anxiety of lovers that is skilfully presented by Fragonard. Sitting in the shade of the garden, they indulge timid caresses that are marked with the novelty and intrigue. The pursuit young woman finds herself trapped in the man’s embrace and she is gladly surrendered.
Despite the grace of The Progress of Love, it was rejected by the Countess. There is still no unanimous opinion about the reasons of du Barry’s rejection. However, the most popular explanation is that the Countess found the set very sentimental and old-fashioned. It is also believed that The Progress of Love became the end of the French rococo: “The playfulness of rococo had given way to the comparative seriousness of neoclassicism” (Kissel, 2009).
Kissel, H. (2009). Ode to a lost world. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124121525627578619.html#articleTabs%3Dar …
Posted by: Erna Stonebraker