The Swing

(French, 1739–1792)
(French, 1732–1806)
Catalogue raisonné: Portalis and Béraldi 540
Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share


This large print, based on a painting by Fragonard, symbolizes the pleasure-seeking and frivolous aspects of Rococo art. Unbeknownst to the man pushing the swing, a suitor reclining in the bushes gets a glimpse under the woman's skirts as she flies through the air, losing her shoe. Contemporary viewers would have understood the association of the lost shoe with sexual dalliance, a motif reinforced by other elements within the image, such as the cavorting nude figures on the base of the statue of a cupid who gestures "hush." Delaunay's work is extremely successful in translating the qualities of a painting into the more restricted vocabulary of graphic techniques. He masterfully transposed Fragonard's charming composition, retaining all of the movement and verve of the painting. Using a rich variety of hatchings, cross-hatchings, and dots, Delaunay conveyed the tonal range, lighting, and spatial effects of the painting remarkably well.
The Swing

The Swing


Nicolas Delaunay, Jean-Honoré Fragonard

(French, 1739–1792), (French, 1732–1806)
France, 18th century

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.