A Young Girl Reading

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A Young Girl Reading

A Young Girl Reading or The Reader in French La Liseuse circa 1770

I have her on my mantle and I love everything about this painting.  I have loved this painting a long time.  When I was about to begin junior high school we took a tour of the school while in sixth grade.  The library was, of course, my favorite place and there she was prominently placed for all to see.  I fell in love and never kept trying to find out more about this painting.

A Young Girl Reading is an 18th century painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard.  The painting is of an unidentified girl reading an unidentified book.  I have searched for the identity of the book and the girl and it is nowhere.  This perplexes me.  Fragonard painted many paintings of girls and it appears upon closer inspection (via x-ray) this canvas used to bear another person’s image, although that person’s identify is unknown, as well.  How frustrating.  You may want to look at these books as reference:

  1. Bailey, Colin B. (2003). The Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre PaintingYale University Press. pp. 286–287. ISBN 0-300-09946-0.
  2. Taft, W. Stanley (2000). The Science of PaintingsSpringer Press. pp. 79–80. ISBN 0-387-98722-3.
The painting was a part of the Melon Foundation’s collection until Andrew W. Melon’s daughter, Mrs. Mellon Bruce gave the painting as a gift to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in memory of her father, Andrew W. Melton.

Some commentary on the painting states Fragonard painted each of the textures in the painting in a different brush stroke which left the viewer feeling a “busy”, not relaxed and absorbed feeling as the painting seems to portray.  I think that’s looking into it a bit much, but to each his own.  Perhaps busy could be associated with Fragonard’s works.  It is said by his friends he finished these paintings in no more than an hour!  His bold, energetic strokes were almost scratched on the surface of the canvas because he was working so quickly.

Using the wooden tip of a brush, Fragonard scratched her ruffed collar into the surface of the paint. This is the “swordplay of the brush” that Fragonard’s contemporaries described, not always with universal approval. The above quote courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

How does this painting make you feel? What is your favorite painting and why?

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About lucygracesmom

I am a mom of one 9 year old and stepmother to three wonderful adults; ages 19, 22 and 24. The youngest child is in Fourth grade at Maxwell, a Spanish Immersion school in Lexington, KY. She enjoys playing violin and everything scientific. Mary Stewart is well into her third year of medical school at Case Western in Cleveland; Charles Morgan is beginning his final semester at College of Charleston; Betsy is living the college dream at Ole Miss in Oxford studying Business and the most fun ways to party. We are very blessed in the family department. My husband is a lawyer specializing in Intellectual Property, computer and entertainment law. We are in the seventh year since starting our own business, Montague Law PLLC. I have the title Operational Manager which means the administrative end of the business (yuk). We live in Lexington, KY or as many know it – horse country. Everything around here is horse and it is a very beautiful area to live in and to raise a family. I have a great many interests that span art, sciences, education, books, film, computer sciences and security and my greatest passion is design. One of my favorite blogs is Grace Bonney’s Design Sponge. I like living the simple life, spending time with my family and reading and writing about my interests in my blog. One of my hopes in developing this blog is to share with you the many things I enjoy so that you may enjoy them too. I love sharing cool information with people who appreciate it. I like pinning on Pinterest, keeping track of my high school friends, college friends and family on Facebook and don’t tell anyone, but I sometimes re-shelve books at the library because I enjoy it.

2 responses »

  1. I own an etching that my godmother gave to me it is a 1920 girl stting on a chair dangeling her feet and she is wearing mary-janes . I love this piece of art

    • Art is so special in so many ways. It seems everyone has one piece that’s particularly special to them.

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