The painting was produced in conjunction with A Game of Hot Cockles and these would have been intended to be displayed together. We can assume that from their similarities in size, style and colour, ensuring that they would have worked perfectly when sat side by side. Fragonard also did this several times in his career, so was entirely plausable. Within this particular painting we find a selection of small figures in the foreground, set against a sprawling countryside scene, featuring a calming lake in the background as well as a host of trees who are used to build a sense of perspective across the painting. The artist's style was always to leave a dreamy finish to his paintings which remind some of the history paintings of the past. One can spot plenty of foliage across the background, but it is not entirely clear and this helps to build a particular atmosphere.
The figures are enclosed within two tall trees that provide the structure for this portrait-shaped artwork. This was a common technique used by all manner of artists as a way of cropping their compositions and examples of it can be found all the way back to the Renaissance. If we look into the painting, we start to discover even more detail across the canvas - there is a small boat with figures in the far distance, as well as several spots that are draped in light in order to provide a variation of colour. Fragonard was unquestionably a master of light, putting him in a similar category to the likes of Turner and Lorrain, even though his own Rococo style was just so different, and he also was highly skilled in the handling of multi-layered colour as well, possibly aided by his tutoring from Francois Boucher.
A Game of Horse and Rider is now owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. This impressive venue holds a wide selection of art and antiquities from around the world and is amongst the biggest attractions within the city. Besides this important Rococo painting, you will also find a number of other famous paintings here, such as Young Girl Reading, also by Fragonard, as well as Cape Cod Evening by Edward Hopper plus Girl with the Red Hat and Woman Holding a Balance by Vermeer. All in all, it is an excellent presentation of American and European art from the past few centuries and provides well for those with more of an interest in fine art than the most recent forms of modern art since around the 1950s.