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The First Riding Lesson (La première leçon d'équitation)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard

European Art

In this scene doting parents and a patient dog help a child learn how to ride. Their gentle instruction makes a striking contrast with the negligent and compromised behavior of the impoverished parents amid urban squalor depicted by William Hogarth in his contemporaneous Gin Lane, on view nearby.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s best-known works are playful scenes of lovers and happy families rendered with a lively touch. In addition to intimate paintings and large commissions for his elite clientele, he also produced many large-scale wash drawings like this one, which were considered finished works of art rather than preparatory studies for paintings.
MEDIUM Brown ink and graphite on laid paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES ca. 1778
    DIMENSIONS 13 11/16 x 17 3/4 in. (34.8 x 45.1 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732–1806). The First Riding Lesson (La première leçon d'équitation), ca. 1778. Brown ink and graphite on laid paper, 13 11/16 x 17 3/4 in. (34.8 x 45.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 57.189 (Photo: , 57.189_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 57.189_PS9.jpg., 2019
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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