The Bolt Jean-Honore Fragonard Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

The Louvre's collection of famous Jean-Honore Fragonard paintings continues with this piece from 1777, which was titled The Bolt, and it is normally on display in their specialist room that is devoted solely to the artist.

The dramatic pose and aggressive lighting found in this painting take us straight to the core of Rococo art, of which Fragonard was a key contributor. You may also see the influence of Francois Boucher within elements of this painting, as he was a major part of Fragonard's early development. The scene found in front of us here captures a young couple in an emotional embrace, just to the side of a bed. Red curtains hang down dramatically, while the bed sheets look unsettled and uneven. Light then embraces the right hand side of the composition, immediately drawing our eyes to this embracing couple. The gentleman holds up his right hand to provide an angle that permeates from the top right, diagonally, down to the bottom left and the female's outstretched leg. The lighting deliberately matches this same angle. The significance of the man's outstretched hand is also because he is closing the door.

The late 18th century in French society was a time of change. This type of amorous activity was becoming popular within art and the Rococo movement was embracing that. It was Louis-Gabriel Véri-Raionard, Marquis de Véri who specifically commissioned this piece, although he had to wait four years before it was finally ready for unveiling. The piece was to be rewarded with a number of prizes, many of which were particularly prestigious, and this helped to revitalise the artist's career and increase focus on his work at that time. He had completed The Swing around a decade earlier and these two paintings are considered by some to have been his finest achievements from a large and varied career. Although the Rococo style is not as popular today as it once was, no-one can deny the technical qualities of its members nor the importance that it held in French society at that time.

Those fortunate enough to get to see this artwork at the Louvre will likely also be interested in some of the other famous names represented at this fine institution. Besides a number of other artworks by Fragonard within its collection, you will also find the likes of Theodore Gericault, Eugene Delacroix, Caravaggio and Titian also represented with a number of original pieces. This iconic venue has continued to expand in order to find more space for its huge collection of art and has even added sister venues in other locations around France in order to make sure that as many people as possible can enjoy some of these delightful items, which go way beyond European art into all manner of different antiquities from all across the world.