At the end of the 18th century, gallant aesthetics dominated the European art scene, with this idea a new aesthetic was proposed in which the protagonists were nothing more than noblemen who starred in scenes, very often amorous, in which their standard of living. The painting was nothing but the reflection of society - or at least part of it - that was reflected in the brushes of the artists of the moment.
In this sense we must highlight Fragonard as one of the painters who best knew how to capture the artistic ideal of Rococo. Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732 – 1860) was one of the most valued painters in the Old Regime, he achieved great fame and his artistic production was very abundantcreating more than five hundred canvases. Trained in the workshops of great painters such as Chardin and Boucher, he would later win a scholarship to study in Rome, a turning point in his career that allowed him to study classical painters.
Already at the end of the 18th century, specifically around the year 1790, the artist began his last stage of production in which his style was already completely defined and he had reached artistic maturity. Precisely to this stage belongs the work that we analyze here today and that bears the nickname of Stolen Kiss. It is an oil on canvas in a horizontal format that measures about fifty-five centimeters wide and forty-five tall and on theIt is currently on display at the Hermitage Museum.
The scene takes place in an interior space, specifically in a cabinet that was a small living room found in palaces, more comfortable and intimate than the great halls. In the foreground we can see how a young man suddenly peeks through the door to steal a kiss from a lady who seems dismayed at the outburst of her admirer. The artist has been able to perfectly capture both the impulsiveness of the young boy and the surprised face of the lady; he also deserves a special mention his skill in capturing the fabrics, especially in the girl's dress. The glitter of the dress was very typical of the time and painters often took pains to depict the garments as a reflection of the status of the protagonists.
In the background and completing the scene appears a group of women,perhaps a little older than the protagonist, who keep busy chatting and oblivious to what is happening in the next room.