Art on Film: Fragonard gets “Frozen”

If you haven’t seen Frozen, get yourself to a theater or a Redbox right now because you are missing out on a pop culture phenomenon. Not only is it the top-grossing Disney film of all time, it features a neat bit of art history in it!

On the left: Fragonard's original painting, "The Swing." On the right: concept art for Disney's "Tangled" (2010).
On the left: Fragonard’s original painting, “The Swing.” On the right: concept art for Disney’s “Tangled” (2010).

During Anna’s song, “For the First Time in Forever,” look for a re-creation of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s masterpiece, “The Swing.” Why’d they choose to include this particular painting? Well, if you look closely, you can see that the movie version is not the exact same as the actual painting. Perhaps you may think the woman on the swing looks more like another Disney princess: Rapunzel, from 2010’s Tangled. The filmmakers behind Tangled and Frozen admired Fragonard’s bright colors and carefree artworks so much that they used his paintings for visual inspiration, and they created concept art for Tangled based off his paintings.

Fragonard, a French Rococo painter, was one of the most prolific painters of his time. writes:

“A master of the domestic scene, the pastoral landscape and tongue-in-cheek eroticism of the boudoir painting, Fragonard had his share of admirers and wielded a strong influence over future masters of the art world.”

Though the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution caused the art world to forget him for a while, interest in his beautiful paintings revived by the end of the 1800s. Fragonard is featured in the Art Docent Program’s fourth-grade lesson, “Skies,” with his painting “Blindman’s Bluff.” 

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