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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.


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


Explore the Kiss

Fragonard’s ‘Progress of Love’

Explore the Hermitage Museum

Secrets of the Wallace: The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard


“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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