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All too often Fragonard (1732-1806) has been dismissed as a vapid Rococo artist. Though I think he is a fast, honest chronicler of his, a somewhat dellutionary society. This puzzling world of Choderlos de Laclos. He's been abused. Even his masterpiece 'The Swing' (now at the Frick Collection in New York) commisioned by the maitresse en titre la Dubarry. was found outmoded by the then fashionable society about to awaken to the neoclassical madness. An aesthetic insurrection that was about to subjugate the world ad nauseum. I think of Fragonard like Botticelli. Both are 'candy painters' There is here a puerile quality. Emerging Aphrodites, seraphs and young lovers stare from a canvas with an alluring naivete. But there is a genius here. Along Caravaggio and Picasso poor Fragonard intends to deliniate something, something that beats in the human heart and mind. Erotic, no, I see in Fragonard more the delicate longings of a child. A fragility allowed only to the very rich be!fore the Revolution. I was prepared to give Mary D Sheriff's book the highest rating but I was alas a bit taken aback by her verbosity. Fragonard not Diderot! I complain about the lack of color plates and found the interminable text almost inscrutable. For those of us who adore the high Rococo and long to evoke a gorgeous, perilious, mad, spoiled society doomed diamond necklaces and little Trianons. This book might emerge as a dissapointment. Leave the interpretation to Dr Freud!