The Cascade

Jean Honoré Fragonard French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 631

This painting and its pair, or pendant, nearby are among Fragonard’s most carefully finished and are executed on wood, which allows for their tremendous precision and intensity of color. They elaborate Antoine Watteau’s interest in romantic gardens, as well as gardens in Italy, a newly popular destination for artists. In 1756, having won a scholarship to study in Rome, Fragonard spent four years at the French academy in that city, a traditional artistic rite of passage. He visited the principal cities of Italy again in 1774, as well as Vienna and Frankfurt. This painting is most likely an imagined conglomeration of the kinds of gardens, architecture, and sculpture he encountered.

The Cascade, Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, Grasse 1732–1806 Paris), Oil on wood

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