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Word Count: 1,103
The Reader commonly referred to as A Young Girl Reading is an oil painting by Jean-Honor Fragonard Completed in 1776 this Fragonard favorite is currently on display at The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC On the surface the painting seems to be a basic image of a girl with a book but in reality it is nothing of the sort In fact The Reader provides its audience with a very important snap shot of 18th century France This piece is both an exemplary demonstration of how Fragonards influences affected his individual artistic style and is a classic demonstration of art from the Rococo period Fragonard was born in 1732 and grew up to embody the freedom and curiosity of the French Enlightenment In 1747 at age 15 Fragonard assumed the position of a clerk in the office of a lawyer in Paris and in doing so already broke away from the conventionality of artists of the time who were rigorously bound to the hierarchical structure of the Royal Academy and working for private patrons Ashton 12 The lawyer whose identity is unknown noticed the young boys aptitude for drawing and advised his parents to apprentice him as an artist Mme Fragonard Jean Honors mother was excited by the prospect of an artistic son and in 1748 Fragonard was taken in by Franois Boucher Wildenstein 2 Boucher painted with a brilliance that he strove to make more and more vivid and took it upon himself to not only house Fragonard but actually teach him ideals and methods of painting Johann Christian Von Mannlich another of Bouchers students recorded in his journal that once they spent an entire day being taught how We must not think of a womans body as a covering for bones Wildenstein 3 Lessons like these as well as sheer admiration were what undoubtedly made Boucher Fragonards greatest influence Above all Fragonard took from his master his freedom of line
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