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'The Swing' is Fragonard's best-known painting, encapsulating for many the finesse, humour and joie de vivre of the Rococo. No other work better demonstrates his ability to combine erotic licence with a visionary feeling for nature. According to the poet Collé, the history painter Doyen was commissioned by an unnamed ‘gentleman of the Court’ to paint his young mistress on a swing, pushed by a bishop with himself admiring her legs from below. Fragonard, who became well-known for his erotic genre-pictures, proved better suited to paint the work, in which the impudent reference to the church has been omitted, leaving the girl as the main focus, delicious in her froth of pink silk, poised mid-air tantalizingly beyond the reach of both her elderly seated admirer and her excited young lover.