Fragonard is providing a sense of fun within this portrait, by giving both the lady and her pet dog several similar features. Despite their dramatically different sizes, they both have curly flourishes which together provide a harmony between these two figures. The dog itself is cute, with a happy expression and a very comfortable pose as he is held by the woman, who is presumably his owner. There is also a long bow which trails onto the woman's outfit - no doubt this dog has been well cared for, perhaps even spoiled. Whilst the animal looks fondly at its owner, the woman glances at the viewer with a cheeky expression, as if suddenly surprised by the arrival of us.

The woman's bright outfit has a complex series of layers which enable the artist to again display his mastery with this challenging artistic technique. Those parts of her outfit are left relatively loose, with the artist deciding against going into as much detail as he might otherwise have done during this period of fine art. The background behind these two is also particularly straight forward, not wishing to spend any time or energy on the composition, aside from the two main figures. This may have been a request from whoever commissioned the painting, or decision of his own based on artistic or time considerations.

Marie Émilie Coignet de Courson is the woman in this portrait, a significant individual of the time who worked as a hostess. There have been suggestions that the artist's knowledge of the career of Rubens may have influenced parts of this painting, particularly likely considering the fact that this artwork occurred soon after he had spent some studying some related Rubens paintings at the Louvre. You will now find the original artwork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an institution which has ownership of a number of this artist's work. The image below offers a more detailed look at this popular piece.

A Woman with a Dog in Detail Jean-Honore Fragonard