Exploring the Intrigue and Romance of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Painting
The dreamy painting adorning this week’s cover is none other than the iconic masterpiece, The Swing, created by the talented artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Its absolute rococo splendour has captured the hearts of art enthusiasts worldwide, including mine. Fortunately, art aficionados can now admire The Swing at any time, as it resides in all its glory at The Wallace Collection in central London.
As I often find myself with a few spare moments between meetings or arriving early for lunch appointments, I frequently make a detour to The Wallace Collection to indulge in the beauty of The Swing. Standing there, marveling at the scene, numerous thoughts flood my mind.
The Shadows of Intrigue
One cannot help but wonder about the mysterious older man lingering in the shadows, seemingly pulling the strings of fate. Who is he, and what role does he play in this romantic tableau?
A Glimpse of Scandal
Amidst the lush scenery, the young suitor gazes up, seemingly catching a provocative glimpse beneath the lady’s skirts. A moment of scandal, perhaps, adding an unexpected layer of complexity to this depiction of love.
A Lost Slipper, A Lost Love
And then there is the question of the flying slipper. Did the lady ever recover it? Or does it symbolize a lost chance at true love, drifting away with the wind?
Indeed, The Swing embodies the pinnacle of romanticism. But like all matters of the heart, it is far from simple. As the famous saying goes, ‘The course of true love never did run smooth.’ Whether these words were spoken by Shakespeare or the wise Maya Jama (see her My London on page 32), they hold a universal truth.
Celebrating Love with Six Mini Essays
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we embrace the complexities of love. In honor of this occasion, we present six captivating mini essays that delve into the thorny subject of amour.
Suzannah Ramsdale passionately argues in favor of separate beds, providing a fresh perspective on maintaining individuality within a relationship. Additionally, we have included excerpts from Lotte Jeff’s latest book, This Love, which delves into the intricacies of romantic connections.
Prepare to be shocked as you delve into the pages of David Baker’s The Shortest History of Sex, where he fearlessly uncovers the hidden truths of this intimate realm. For those seeking to keep the flame alive, Emily Phillips offers ten unique ways to keep ten years of marriage fresh and exciting.
‘Juliana Close,’ whose true identity remains concealed, bravely pleads the case for being the other woman, challenging societal norms and exploring an unconventional side of love. Lastly, Hayley Spencer courageously plans to avoid Valentine’s Day altogether, taking an alternative approach to this traditionally romantic occasion.
As for me, the daily chaos of having builders in (not a euphemism) makes me grateful for the opportunity to spend February 14th free from discussions about the intricacies of metal finishes on taps. Sometimes, simplicity is the truest form of love.