The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Musical Contest
  • Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
  • The Musical Contest
  • France
  • c. 1749-1752
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 62 x 74 cm
  • P471
  • Landing
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Mistakenly thought to be by Boucher when acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford, The Musical Contest is an early work by Fragonard. It has usually been dated to after his time as a pupil in Boucher's studio, in c. 1748-1752, but Fragonard directly refers to figures of Boucher's 'Summer Pastoral' (P489) of 1749 which suggest a closeness in date.

    The subject is inspired by Boucher's pastorals. The handling, however, is characteristic of Fragonard, with a more daring palette and use of impasto. Similarly, the theatrical flickering light effects, calligraphic foliage, and twisting poses with swirling drapery all reveal the hand of the young Fragonard.

    The painting had been enlarged at a later date. The additions were folded over at the last conservation treatment in 1986.