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Arbre parmi les ruines dans le parc de Tivoli (Tree among Ruins in Tivoli Park)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Artwork Details

Arbre parmi les ruines dans le parc de Tivoli (Tree among Ruins in Tivoli Park)
before 1787
Jean-Honoré Fragonard
brown wash, point of brush, over black chalk and graphite on laid paper
13 9/16 in x 18 1/8 in (34.45 cm x 46.04 cm);21 1/4 in x 24 3/4 in (53.98 cm x 62.87 cm)
Museum purchase in honor of Charles H. Sawyer assisted by the Friends of the Museum of Art


As with the paintings of his good friend Hubert Robert, Fragonard created works that combine classical ruins and contemporary figures in a picturesque and verdant setting. In this instance the scene is set in the famous gardens of Tivoli Park outside Rome. Juxtaposing the smooth volumes and geometric shapes of the ruins against the irregular and dramatic form of the tree at the center of the composition, Fragonard’s romantic evocation of an idealized past is partly conveyed by the presence of a man and boy perched on a fallen slab of marble. The integration of sculpture and figures into a park-like setting evokes the lyrical paintings and poetic sentiment of Antoine Watteau.
Born to a family of glove-makers, Fragonard studied briefly in Paris with Jean-Siméon Chardin before entering the studio of François Boucher. Although not a member of the Académie Royale, he won the Prix de Rome in 1752. Fragonard did not travel to Rome until late 1756, where he remained five years. Fragonard returned to Italy again in 1773–74.
Exhibition label copy from "Eighteenth Century French Prints and Drawings," February 1 - May 4, 2003 by Curator Carole McNamara

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