A Young Girl Reading
Size: 22 x 28″
Briefly a pupil of Chardin in 1750, Fragonard studied with Boucher until 1752, when he won the Prix de Rome. He visited Rome in 1756, where he studied the works of Venetian master Tiepolo. On his return to Paris, he made his name with a history painting in the “Grand Manner”, High Priest Coroesus Sacrificing Himself to Save Callirhoe (1765). However, once accepted into the Academy, he gave up historical painting and turned to lighter Subjects, such as The Swing (c. 1766).
A Young Girl Reading is aglow with the softest of umbers, the rich color darkening and paling as it follows the girl’s youthful contours. Her back is supported by a sort of maternal abundance of rosy pillow, but there is an almost horizontal element in the board under her arm except where her charming sleeve has overlapped its rigid outline. She is intent upon her book, as unprotected as any Boucher nymph.