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The Bolt is a great example of 18th century Rococo - an exuberant, theatrical, and often erotic style.

It illustrates a shift in 18th century European art - when it became more acceptable to represent intimacy on canvass.

Fragonard was a prolific artist, painting over 500 artworks in his lifetime.

He initially focused on painting religious scenes - but his patrons, wealthy and powerful members of the French court, convinced him to focus on pleasure, commissioning paintings of their wives and mistresses.

The painting is set up like a theatre set, with the light shining on the couple like a projector.

The curtains frame the bed like a stage.

The scene is peppered with sexual symbols - the apple, the shape of the curtains...

The painting has also been seen by some as very unnerving.

Is the encounter entirely consensual?

Is that someone else hiding under the sheets?

Fragonard is one of France's most famous artists.

His paintings have been sold upwards of $20 million.

La Joconde, de Vinci (1519)


The Turkish Bath

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