Dec 10, 2012

Invocation to Love

Invocation to Love

c. 1781

Jean-Honoré Fragonard

(French, 1732–1806)

Brush and brown wash with graphite squaring lines and underdrawing on cream laid paper

Support: Cream(3) laid paper, laid down on board (mount by François Renaud, second half of 18th Century)

Sheet: 33.5 x 41.6 cm (13 3/16 x 16 3/8 in.); Secondary Support: 37.6 x 47.8 cm (14 13/16 x 18 13/16 in.)

Grace Rainey Rogers Fund 1943.657

Catalogue raisonné: Ananoff 2422


Did you know?

This drawing contains squaring—a grid underlying the image—suggesting it's a smaller drawn replica of a related oil painting.


Fragonard used gardens as the setting for love and courtship in some of his most important works. One such scene, this drawing depicts a woman pleading for help from a statue of Eros, the god of love. He wears a blindfold, suggesting an uncertain outcome for the woman, as does a Cupid who indifferently leans on an orb nearby. Like other artists in 18th-century France, Fragonard was deeply influenced by historic imagery of the Garden of Love—a pastoral and idyllic contained landscape. He revisited the specific image seen here multiple times, in two oil paintings (Musée du Louvre and private collection, New York) and another drawing (Princeton University Art Museum).

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