The scene captures the typical fantasy gardens that appeared within art of the 18th century and Fragonard himself was someone who used this as a background within a large number of paintings, though domestic settings were also frequent too. We find a young family playing with great abandon and it is easy to see why so many have found this artist's paintings to be joyful, fun and easily accessible. The See-Saw was produced in conjunction with Blind Man's Buff as two complementary paintings and that piece can now be found at the Toledo Museum of Art. Much can be learned and understood about the artist by comparing these two pieces with each other and also the rest of his oeuvre.
As is the will of any see-saw, as the man and children fall onto the ground, so the woman is thrust into the air. Rather than worry about this, she laughs with delight and attempts to cling on to an overhanging branch in order to regain her balance. This type of simple fun sums up the lives of ordinary people in centuries past and continues to amuse and intrigue us today. In line with many other Fragonard paintings, you will find trees used for aesthetic value and also to help frame the composition, with them used along the left hand side in this example.
This painting is now owned by the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, one of the most important art venues within the Spanish capital. Followers of fine art more generally will also find a number of other artistic highlights within this prestigious venue including the likes of Venus and Cupid holding a mirror, by Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Portrait de paysan, by Paul Cézanne and also further artworks from the likes of Watteau, François Boucher, Chardin and Jean-Honore Fragonard himself. Perhaps the best location for work from the latter's career would be the Wallace Collection in London, where The Swing can be found, along with a number of pendant pieces.