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“The Stolen Kiss” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

"The Stolen Kiss" by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

“The Stolen Kiss”

by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

“The Stolen Kiss” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard depicts a kiss between two lovers, showing a young lady in a cream-colored silk gown who has left the group women in the next room for a secret meeting with a young man. Fragonard’s painting displays the kind of eroticism and romantic folly that was popular before the French Revolution among French aristocrats. This scene of voyeurism depicts the stolen kiss in lavish surroundings, containing luxurious details of textures, silks, and lace, like the rug with flower pattern, silk draperies, her shawl on the chair, the elegantly clad ladies that are visible through the open door.

The dominant French culture was highly influential on Fragonard’s themes, which were mostly erotic, secretive romance or love scenes, painted for Louis XV’s pleasure-loving court’s enjoyment. However, Fragonard’s skills are evident in the diagonal composition framed by the two doors. The diagonal axis is composed on the one end, by the lady’s leaning figure and her extended arm holding on to the shawl that is diagonally draped over the table, at the other end. Fragonard offers us an array of compositional contrasts between colors and shadows and the complex spatial intersections.

The style of the painting was characteristic of the French Rococo period and was favored by the wealthy art patrons of the 1780s.

Explore the Kiss


The Rococo style began in France in the first part of the 18th century in the reign of Louis XV as a reaction against the more formal and geometric form. It soon spread to other parts of Europe, mainly northern Italy, Bavaria, Austria, other parts of Germany, and Russia. It also came to influence the other arts, particularly sculpture, furniture, silverware and glassware, painting, music, and theatre.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Jean-Honoré Fragonard became a prominent painter within the Rococo artistic movement, which was filled with light colors, asymmetrical designs, and curved, natural forms. The Rococo style emerged in Paris during the eighteenth century, more specifically during the reign of Louis XV. Fragonard produced more than 550 paintings, and among his most famous works are genre paintings conveying an atmosphere of intimacy and veiled eroticism.

The Stolen Kiss

  • Title:               The Stolen Kiss
  • Artist:             Jean-Honoré Fragonard
  • Created:         late 1780s
  • Media:            Oil-on-canvas
  • Movement     Rococo
  • Dimensions:   Height: 45 cm (17.7 ″); Width: 55 cm (21.6 ″)
  • Museum:        Hermitage Museum

Jean-Honoré Fragonard


  • Which is your favorite depiction of a Kiss?

Explore the Hermitage Museum

Twitter feedback to @joyofmuseums (for the post on 14th May 2019)

Q: Which is your favorite depiction of a Kiss?

  • Constantin Brancusi – The Kiss
  • Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of a Sailor kissing a Nurse in Times Square
  • Mihály Zichy, The kiss…..and we know where that leads
  • Berlin Wall, Berlin: ‘Brotherly Kiss,’ Erich Honecker & Leonid Brezenev
  • Henri de Toulouse Lautrec – Dans le Lit, le Baiser
  • Hellelil and Hildebrand, the Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton
  • The Kiss. Rodin.
  • “For never was a story of more woe / than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
  • Beautiful artwork. Young man stealing a kiss.
  • Definitely this one, The Stolen Kiss. A secret moment between two lovers 💕
  • Banksy – The Kissing Coppers
  • “The Kiss” by Francesco Hayez.
  • No surprise… “Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville” by Robert Doisneau. 💋
  • Love this mostly because of the sheen on the drapes and her gown. I see lots of flair ❤
  • “Kiss amid poppies” by Weiss
  • Name of the painting is “Impulsive” from Ron Hicks “1965” ” ✍🏽☑️
  • The Kiss sculpture by Rodin
  • The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. I know it’s a popular one but it’s still my favorite
  • The Kiss by Francesco Hayez and then The Stolen Kiss by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
  • “Il Bacio”, by Francesco Hayez.
  • Klimt for all sorts of sentimental reasons
  • Klimt – the kiss 😘
  • Rodin’s The Kiss
  • The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. I love that painting.
  • Kiss by the Window—E.Munch—😊👍
  • Francesco Ciusa
  • Rimango banalmente su Klimt…
  • Nulla da dire, ma questa scultura di Ciusa, che di tanto in tanto vado ad ammirare dal vero a Nuoro, ha per me un significato particolare 😊 Mi emoziona profondamente (Translation: Nothing to say, but this sculpture of Ciusa, which from time to time I admire from the truth in Nuoro, has for me a special 😊 meaning Excited me deeply)
  • Molto bella, non la conoscevo
  • Ciusa ha fatto delle cose bellissime, Alcune furono distrutte perché lavorò anche su commissione del regime durante il ventennio
  • This pair of frames is just about to share a kiss… Salvador Dalí, Couple with their heads in the clouds, 1936
  • Munch. The kiss. Mysterious. Entriegiing. Several versions.


“The artist who aims at perfection in everything achieves it in nothing.”
– Eugene Delacroix


Photo Credit 1) Jean-Honoré Fragonard [Public domain]

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