Th charming scene that we find in front of us here is an unfinished study painting, where enough detail is added to plan for a later artwork, but without the same level of detail that Fragonard would use in his full scale major projects. You will see, for example, some very rough elements within the background of the scene, when normally every single item of the painting would be carefully considered and accurately delivered. Fragonard's main focus would be the three figures who can be found in the centre as these are the focal point of the piece, and it is where the artist may have had the most questions to answer during this developmental stage. The drapery, for example, was complex with two long dresses folded multiple times and taking light from an angle which complicates the artist's work.

It is likely that this piece was commissioned by Bailli de Breteuil who was one of the key art patrons in France at that time. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York holds the final piece, but this study version offers an interesting insight into the artist's manner of development and also underlines his expressive use of brushstrokes which produced a style which was very much his own, even though there were several other notable members of the Rococo painting movement. Studies can be completed in a variety of levels of detail, some using chalk or charcoal, whilst others are closer to the final painting, using oils such as this one.

Captured Kiss is owned by the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia. It is a world famous venue, with a collection that can rival anything in the world. Whilst possessing plenty of local Russian art, there is also a huge concentration of western art as well, thanks to the bold collecting of a number of Russians who then passed on their own possessions to the state through a bequeth. It is hard to summarise the highlights of what is such a large and strong collection, but you will find paintings by the likes of Rembrandt here, as well as various members of the famous Bruegel dynasty. There is plenty of other Dutch and Italian art from the Renaissance era as well as French art from more recent centuries. Those looking to see as much of the collection as possible will be hard pressed to find the time and levels of concentration to track down every item in this extraordinary series of museums and galleries within this picturesque city.

Captured Kiss in Detail Jean-Honore Fragonard