Fragonard, the shades of love
Love in the 18th Century ? One might define it as Libertinism. Yet for this century, love is in fact more complicated. Fragonard embraced his century, and fulfilled all orders for his art, not just those from the Libertines, but also those from the Moralists, as well as from those who dreamt of gentle, rustic and mythic allegories.
His little cherubs, that he scatters amongst the foliage that his lovers meet in, embrace and hold each other by the hand, looking into each others' eyes, use every means they have available to them. Some lovers of Fragonard's work, specialists in his boldness and his artistic licence, will lead us into the nooks and crannies of his themes and his beds, along with the sensual vibrations of his touch (the fa presto) that make his kisses resound so deeply with us.
Modern Fragonard: to be able to see such kisses again, we had to wait for the arrival of cinema. For example, Jean Renoir, in his film A Day in the Country, recreated one of those magical reunions between Fragonard, great forerunner of the Impressionist movement, and the viewer, in one of the film's scenes.
Jean-Paul Fargier is a film critic and video artist. He realized a hundred documentary films, including Bill Viola, experience of Infinity (2014), The Bohemian dream (2012), The Water Lilies: Monet's greatest dream (2006) and Les Voyageurs of Korrigane (2005), which were co-produced and edited by the RMN.