Shop art print and framed art The Stolen Kiss by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

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Subjects : Genre scenes
Keywords : Painting, kiss, love, lover
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To fully enjoy «The Stolen Kiss» by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, we recommend the medium size (60x73.8 cm) printed on hand stretched canvas, with the gilded mouldings - thin frame.
The artwork

The Stolen Kiss

The Stealth Kiss: a captivating and mysterious work

In the world of art, certain works have marked their era and continue to intrigue art lovers and specialists alike. Such is the case with the painting The kiss on the sly, an intriguing composition that plunges us into the mysteries of seduction and the gallant societies of the 18th century.

A creation attributed to two great French artists

While the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) is well known today, his pupil and sister-in-law Marguerite Gérard (1761-1837) is an artist less well known to the general public. Yet she played an active part in the production of many compositions alongside the master, including Le baiser à la dérobée.

Fragonard, an emblematic artist of the 18th century

Jean-Honoré Fragonard was a major French painter of the Rococo period. After studying with the greatest masters of his time, he quickly established himself as a talented and prolific artist. His works are characterised by their great vitality and their shimmering colours. This artist's favourite themes include gallant and light-hearted scenes, as well as bucolic landscapes and portraits of the aristocracy.

Marguerite Gérard, a talented pupil

Becoming Fragonard's pupil and collaborator after marrying his brother, Marguerite Gérard forged a solid reputation as an artist. Her talents as a draughtswoman and colourist were particularly appreciated in the artistic circles of the time. She was particularly noted for her scènes de genre, depicting characters from bourgeois society.

The surreptitious kiss: a gallant scene full of mystery

The work Le baiser à la sterobée is an oil on canvas painted around 1780, depicting a gallant scene in which a young man kisses a young woman surreptitiously, while an old man seems intent on surprising them behind a curtain. The composition highlights the game of seduction going on between the two lovers, while emphasising the ambiguity of the relationships between the various protagonists.

A composition rich in symbols

This painting is packed with symbolic details that reinforce its enigmatic and captivating character. These include:

  • The position of the couple, with the young woman leaning forward and the young man holding her waist firmly, testifies to the passion that drives them.
  • The characters' clothes, rich in colour and ornament, illustrate their membership of the aristocratic society of the time.
  • The mirror present in the scene reflects a distorted image of the couple, suggesting that their relationship might be based on illusions or things left unsaid.
  • The presence of a dog, a symbol of fidelity, seems to contrast with the clandestine nature of this amorous encounter.

A sensual and intriguing atmosphere

Beyond the symbols, it is above all the atmosphere that emanates from this work that fascinates. The warm, luminous colours and the play of light and shadow help to create a sensual and mysterious atmosphere. The viewer's gaze is constantly drawn to the different elements of the composition, seeking to unravel the secrets hidden behind this gallant scene.

A precious testimony to 18th-century society

In addition to its artistic interest, Le baiser à la dérobée also offers us a precious testimony to 18th-century French society. Indeed, this period saw the emergence of a new bourgeoisie, eager to rival the aristocracy in terms of power and wealth. Gallant scenes and society parties were thus an opportunity for these individuals to show themselves off and assert their social status.

Literary and artistic salons

It was in this context that the famous literary and artistic salons developed, where the most prominent figures in the world of letters, the arts and politics gathered. These gatherings allowed participants to discuss their ideas and creations, but also to strike up romantic or social relationships. Le baiser à la sterobée can thus be seen as a representation of these games of seduction that took place within this gallant and refined society.

The question of clandestinity

Finally, this work also raises the question of the clandestinity of romantic relationships at the time. Indeed, despite the prevailing libertinism, certain liaisons remained taboo and therefore had to be conducted in secret. Le baiser à la sterobée thus perfectly illustrates this dual face of 18th-century society, torn between the unbridled quest for pleasure and the need to respect social propriety.


This artwork is a painting from the classical period. It belongs to the rococo style.


« The Stolen Kiss » is kept at State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.


Find the full description of The Stolen Kiss by Jean-Honoré Fragonard on Wikipedia.

The artist

Jean-Honoré Fragonard

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Jean-Honoré Fragonard

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