Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Grasse 1732-1806 Paris (ARCHIVED)

Fragonard - The Sacrifice of a Rose.jpg
Fragonard - The Sacrifice of a Rose.jpg

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Grasse 1732-1806 Paris (ARCHIVED)

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The Sacrifice of the Rose, circa 1780-1790

Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21¼ inches (65 x 54 cm)

Fragonard’s The Sacrifice of the Rose is an allegory of the ecstasy of love. A young woman, lightly veiled, abandons herself to the power of love as an adolescent Cupid ignites with his torch a symbolic rose laid on a sacrificial altar. The precise source of the subject is unknown, but since Fragonard drew frequently on literature for inspiration, its origin may well lie in some minor French poet of the late eighteenth century. The poetry of this period is full of the conventional symbolism of roses, cupids, soft voluptuous breezes and languorous poses, all of which accords closely with the iconography of The Sacrifice of the Rose.

Fragonard turned to the theme on a number of occasions from 1770 onwards. There are five known variants of the subject. Four of these appear in George Wildenstein’s The Paintings of Fragonard (English edition), London, 1960. 

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