Art with a Swing: Rococo Era (roughly 1720-1780)
Swings have been painted repeatedly by famous and not so famous artists, starting mainly in the 18th century. It was a particularly favoured subject by artists of the Rococo Era.
Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743): “The Swing”
One of the first swinging pictures would be “The Swing” by Nicolas Lancret, painted in 1724 or maybe 1730. Some sources even claim it was painted in 1735.
Photo courtesy of: arthermitage.org/Nicolas-Lancret/Swing
On the painting is a lady in a pink dress sitting on a swing which is hanging from a branch of a tree in the forest. One of her companions to her left is pulling her with a string. Hard work!
Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806): “The Swing”
The most famous picture of all times with a swing is “The Swing”, painted in 1767 by Jean Honoré Fragonard. It is his best known painting as well.
Photo on: pinterest.com/arthenning/swingblog
At the time this was an extremely frivolous picture. Just look at the lady in a pink dress, sitting on a swing and throwing her leg and shoe up in the air. Her leg totally lifts the skirts and gives her lover or admirer down below on the ground great insight. A right turn-on!
Today’s boys might class that kind of underware more likely as a turn-off!? Would they? Hey, boys everywhere: Let me know! What is it to be: on or off?
Francisco de Goya (1746-1828): “The Swing”
Another very famous artist getting into the swing was Francisco de Goya with (stop! really unique title!) “The Swing” in 1779. (A fat lot of imagination seems to go into the titles! Defferentiation is everything!)
Photo courtesy of: eeweems.com/goya/swing
Again, a lady, in a brownish dress, is sitting on a swing. The swing is fastened between two trees and looks a bit dodgy to me. This scene is in front of a sunset.
Since Fragonard and the Rococo, there have been numerous artworks depicting swing scenes. Usually, they are nice and friendly, sometimes funny images, including romance, love and humour.
There were plenty of them in the 19th century.
Adolphe Joseph Thomas Monticelli (1824-1886): “En el Columpio”
The title for this painting by Adolphe JT Monticelli is “En el Columpio”, date unknown.
Photo courtesy of: alamy.com/stock-photo/adolphe-monticelli
A lady in a brilliant red dress with red shoes is sitting on a swing between two trees. She seems to be alone. Most of the picture is in dark brown hues which brings out the lady in red very well.
John George Brown (1831-1913): “Three Girls on a Swing”
John G Brown’s picture has a slightly different title with “Three Girls on a Swing” and was created in 1868.
Photo courtesy of: 1st-art-gallery.com/…/Three-Girls-on-a-Swing
There are actually three girls standing on one poor little swing. They seem to be messing about a bit and having great fun. They are in colourful clothes – pink, white, light brown with green – in a sunny park.
Pierre Auguste Cot (1837-1883): “Spring”
Pierre Auguste Cot painted his swing image in 1873 and called it “Spring”.
Photo courtesy of: metmuseum.org/…t/collection/search/438158
A young man and a young woman are together, sitting on a swing in a forest. He is wearing red, the young lady is in white. The two of them are in the spring of their lives.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919): “The Swing”
Renoir is one of the famous impressionists. In 1876, he painted a swing as well, called “The Swing”, a sunlit scene with a lady in a white dress. She is standing on the swing and a man in dark blue is to her left, facing her. A little girl is watching them.
Photo courtesy of: visual-arts-cork.com/…is/swing-renoir.htm
Percy Tarrant (1855-1934): “The Swing”
This swing painting is by Percy Tarrant and titled “The Swing”. It is dated around 1883 to 1904.
Photo courtesy of: mystudios.com/…/P/Percy-Tarrant/The-Swing
It is a summer scene with two young girls in the focus. One of them is in a white dress and standing on a swing, the other girl is in a grey/purple dress and watching her friend. They seem very happe.
Samuel Melton Fisher (1859-1939): “The Swing”
This painting by Samuel M Fisher is called “The Swing” and was created in 1908 which brings us clearly into the 20th century.
Photo courtesy of: artuk.org/artworks/the-swing-97945
It is a more romantic picture. A young lady in a flowery dress and a hat is sitting on a swing across a path. She is not swinging but holding herself with one hand only and looking dreamily at the viewer.
Interestingly, swing pics started off as an adult theme in the 18th century and gradually turned into a (very innocent) children’s theme during the 19th and especially the 20th century. Apart from a few exceptions, around 1900 there were plenty of images of children on swings, not so many adults. The artworks come as paintings, postcards and photographs.
The better known artists here were:
Jean Pierre Julien (1888-unknown): “Girl on a Swing”
In JP Julien’s painting “Girl on a Swing”, dated 1920s, you see a young woman in a pink dress who is placed nearly in the middle of the picture. She is sitting on a swing which is fastened on one big tree on the left. It is a garden as there is a table with plates and flowers in a vase on the right.
Photo courtesy of: artnet.com/…pierre-julien/girl-on-a-swing
George Barbier (1882-1932): “The Swing”
George Barbier’s “The Swing”, 1920s as well, looks very much like Art Nouveau. The swinging lady is sitting on a swing and is in mid-air. She is stretched and diagonal from bottom left to top right which makes for a very dynamic picture. She has just lost her hat which is flying through the air. A young man beneath her seems to be pushing her. It is a very bright painting.
Photo on: pinterest.com/arthenning/swingblog
20th Century and On ….
During the 20th century, the children’s theme has slowly changed again, this time around to animal characters on swings. Fantasy is in full swing! As I said in my last blog post “Moonlight Mystery” already (modern-art-and-photography-henning.de/…/moonlight-mystery-painting under the last heading “Back to Today”). Also adults are starting to come back into the swing thing again, mainly women. – Full circle?
Here are two examples:
Margaret Tarrant (1888-1959): “My Fairy Swing”
This lovely picture by Margaret Tarrant is called “My Fairy Swing” because the swing is surrounded by little blue fairies. It was created in 1915 and is a great example for fantasy art.
Photo courtesy of: medici.co.uk/c/614/Fairies-and-Elves
Henry Hintermeister (1897-1972): “Grandma and Grandpa – Attaboy, Gramps”
This picture by Henry Hintermeister is called “Grandma and Grandpa – Attaboy, Gramps” and with both grandparents on the swing high in the air, it is very funny. Date unknown.
… it swings into 21st Century
Bridget Henning (*1957) – That’s me!
As you can see, my acrylic painting “My Garden – Coreopsis Sunfire and Other Flowers” has a very different title. I painted it in 2013.
Obviously, my own picture comes with a swing in it, too. It is past the flowers, on that Sally tree, a bit covered by the blue Delphiniums.
Not that is was my intention to paint a swing. I had bought a big pot of Coreopsis Sunfire. On the canvas the flowers looked like there was a big field of them, very unlike a flower pot. Wouldn’t have happened to Fragonard, I’m sure. Never mind! I copied a tree in for a backdrop, an old drawing of mine of a Sally tree with a swing. Unfortunately, the tree fell a few years ago in a wild winter storm.
I never thought about people, children or otherwise, in it because somehow a swing nowadays automatically suggests children. Doesn’t it??? Or so I would have thought before I started this blog post. If you had asked me.
Next artists up in my research are:
Ellen Jareckie (*1959)
Ellen Jareckie is an illustrator and paints animals, mainly mice, as cartoon characters. Here I picked a mouse and her big green dragon friend standing on a swing. There are lots of very pretty and very poisenous mushrooms around.
Beatriz Martin Vidal (*1973)
Beatriz Martin Vidal does a bit fantasy-like art. Here is a young girl in an orangey-brown dress sitting on a blue swing, in the middle of the sky. She seems to fly away.
Benjamin Lacombe (*1982)
Benjamin Lacombe painted a very pink and red picture here. A little girl in dark red is sitting on a swing with three birds near her. There doesn’t seem to be any movement. The girl’s eyes are closed. Is she dreaming or unhappy?
And more swing art @ pinterest.com/…rthenning/art-with-a-swing by:
Costa Dvorezky, abstracts with a swing
Sarah Kay, romantic pictures with children
Jeremiah Morelli, fairy pictures, here with a swing
RozArt, semi-abstract, children in mid-air and clouds
Bridget Voth, animal characters on a swing like cats, bunnies, butterflies
and more on: pinterest.com/…rthenning/art-with-a-swing
But where are the boys??? Do boys not like swings?
As there always have been just women or girls on the swing pictures! Why? No change since the Middle Ages? I am only coming across these questions right now. And I have no answer whatsoever. Speechless!
Can YOU prove me wrong? Or come up with an answer?
Best wishes, Bridget