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Useless Resistance, c. 1770.
Useless Resistance
c. 1770
Oil on canvas
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. E. John Magnin
A young woman, her shift slipping provocatively, pummels a boy with a pillow. The precise subject of the painting—a lovers' quarrel or the horseplay of siblings, perhaps—is left to the viewer's imagination. Contemporary connoisseurs would have admired Fragonard's technique, in which creamy strokes of paint are spread against the smooth surface of the wooden panel.

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