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A new mood of gravity and romantic passion enters Fragonard's art in 'The Fountain of Love'. Two lovers are shown hastening to the fountain, ‘both aflame, eyes shining, they direct their thirst and the desire of their lips towards the enchanted cup’, as the Goncourts memorably described. While referring to contemporary fashions for classicism in the severe profiles of the protagonists, and to the fine technique of certain seventeenth-century Dutch masters, Fragonard sets the scene in a dream-like setting of dark shadows and monochrome colouring which prefigures the melancholy storm of full-blown Romanticism.

The Wallace Collection



The Fountain of Love




oil on canvas


H 63.5 x W 50.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1870; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type



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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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