I re-blogged a post on ”Get ready for the Beach” and reading it reminded me of this painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) who in 1767 created this tableau of Les hasards heureux de l’escarpolette which roughly translates as the happy happenstance of the swing.

This painting today is at the Wallace gallery in London. Such libertine paintings were all the rage in France and Fragonard simply kept his public happy.

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In the post ”Get ready for the beach” it mentions that up until fairly recently men swam nude at the beach and at the YMCA and elsewhere in their Clubs, Women did not. In this painting you see a young man ”A gallant” looking up the dress of this lady on the swing. She is offering quite a view, given that in 18th century France women did not wear any underwear except during their monthly period, Men on the other hand wore underwear.

The music of Jacques Hoffenbach in Orpheus in the underworld which was adapted to the ballet La vie Parisienne with its CanCan music and accompanying wild stage dance brings back the fact that the real scandal in the Paris of 1880 was the female dancers lifting their dresses to reveal that they wore nothing under them.

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Le Chahut by Georges Seurat

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