Jean-Honore Fragonard The Isle of Love, also called La Fête à Rambouillet.
Oil on Canvas
Fragonard’s frivolity and gallantry are considered the embodiment of the Rococo spirit.
A barge loaded with musicians and pairs of lovers nears a leafy grotto close to a cascade. The uncanny light - golden touches highlighting the deep dark gem-like tones of blue and green - transforms Watteau’s Isle of Cythera pilgrimage by dissolving the characters, allowing them only to play minor parts, leaving the passionate music and tousled vegetation to dominate the scene.
The painting, Fête at Rambouillet, is from a later period in his life. Although a departure from the erotic and genre scenes that had made him so popular, this 1780 painting portrays an idealized and aristocratic view of nature, where overdressed courtiers go out in boats to partake in a picnic. It could almost be used as an illustration for the Enlightenment’s obsession with combining rationality and nature. Significantly, nature here is not the formal gardens of Versailles, but a rather wild, untamed stretch of forest and river. Already, Fragonard is pushing his art toward Romanticism.#Fragonard