The Stolen Kiss (Fragonard)

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The Stolen Kiss
Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Stolen Kiss.jpg
ArtistJean-Honoré Fragonard
Yearlate 1780s[1]
MediumOil on canvas[1]
Dimensions45 cm × 55 cm (18 in × 22 in)[1]
LocationHermitage Museum[1][2], Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Stolen Kiss is a painting by French painter Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) from the end of the 1780s, depicting a secretive romance. The painting is hosted in the collection of the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg. The style of the painting was characteristic of the French Rococo period and was favoured by the wealthy art patrons of his time.[1]


The painting depicts a kiss between two lovers, showing a young lady in cream-coloured silk gown who appears to have left her company for a secret meeting with a young man. The composition is diagonal, made up by an axis composed through her leaning figure, the shawl and the balcony door opening from the outside, ending with the table the shawl is draped over. The painting offers an array of compositional contrasts between colours and shadows: the spatial intersections are complex.[1][3][4][5]

Jean-Honoré Fragonard's works display the kind of eroticism and voluptuousness and the liking for romantic folly that was popular before the French Revolution among French aristocrats. Fragonard includes scenes of voyeurism in his paintings. This scene is depicting 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 influenced how Fragonard chose his themes, that were mostly erotic or love scenes, painted for Louis XV's pleasure-loving court's enjoyment.[1][3][4][5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Jean Honore Fragonard, Stolen-Kiss". Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  2. ^ Fragonard, Jean Honoré. 1732-1806 Stolen Kiss, Hermitage Museum
  3. ^ a b Jones, Jonathan (9 December 2000). "Portrait of the Week: Young Woman, Jean-Honore Fragonard (c 1769)". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b Rosenberg, Pierre (1988). Fragonard. Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 978-0-87099-516-3.
  5. ^ a b "The Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre Painting". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 31 March 2015.