Roman Interior

Jean Honoré Fragonard French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 631

Fragonard probably painted this scene toward the end of his first trip to Italy. His loose technique falls between the usual stages of preparatory sketch and finished work that was increasingly appreciated by eighteenth-century artists and collectors—though its condition has also suffered. Like Hubert Robert, Fragonard was fascinated by how Romans occupied the remains of the city’s unrestored ancient ruins. Here, a bustling laundry has been improvised amid enormous antique columns and a sacrificial altar. Both artists romanticized such scenes in tandem with the rising aesthetic appreciation of decay and the picturesque, an important thread in the popularization of antiquarian culture.

Roman Interior, Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, Grasse 1732–1806 Paris), Oil on canvas

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