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Aiosa 1

Jacqueline Aiosa
ENC 3315
Prof. Marinara
28 September 2014

Frozen vs. Fragonard

Take a fun loving animated film and a sensuous 18
century painting and now put
them together, how can this combination work? In the images above, to the left we are
presented with the painting by Fragonard and to the right a scene from the Frozen film.
This contemporary movie is popular in todays culture but how would people react if they
knew the hidden secrets it references from our past history. The movie manipulates a
famous painting by Jean-Honor Fragonard titled The Swing. The parody is trying to use
a popular painting of our past to engage a wider audience while keeping the spirit of
Disney forefront. An analysis of this transfiguration however will bring to light the
changed meaning and the issues it arises.
Jessica Territo 9/30/2014 3:48 PM
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"Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the
realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood." The
statement above is a quote from Walt Disney sharing his insight into the importance of a
movie. The normal target audiences for these animated films are families and children,
although there are exceptions when it can catch the attention of adults. According to
Jacquelynne S. Eccles a professor of psychology, education, and womens studies at the
University of Michigan, ages 6-14 is a time of important developmental advances that
establish childrens sense of identity. Animated films such as the movie Frozen for
example, is being viewed by children at one of the most critical times in their life for
growth and influence. This raises the question of ethics about what an animated films
moral message should include and what they should be referencing. According to the
Walt Disney Company Business and Ethic Standards employees must complete
Compliance training, including training regarding the Companys
learning management system known as Disney Development Connection.
It is the Companys intent, through its compliance training, to ensure that
all of its employees and Cast members have the knowledge and training to
act ethically and legally.
Now according to the quote by Walt Disney and their current business standards, would
it be safe to question their ethical appeals when they are including a reference to sex in
their film Frozen. Its hard to believe when Walt envisioned Disney characters shaping
young lives; he envisioned this through the message of eroticism.
Before further analyzing this transformation piece I have to give you a
background on the movie Frozen. This movie is an animated musical fantasy comedy-
Jessica Territo 9/30/2014 3:50 PM
Comment [2]: Comma usage. I auueu a
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drama film produced by Disney. It utilizes similar animation styles as the movie Tangled
and is inspired by Hans Christian Andersens fairy tale The Snow Queen. Its a movie
that touches on family bonds, true love, friendship, strong female roles and accepting
yourself. One of the songs from the animated film was For the First Time in Forever,
which is used to express the character Annas delight at being able to see people again
during her sisters coronation. Anna sings about dancing, meeting new people and best of
all finding romance! This movie according to Alex Stedman news editor for,
the animated film Frozen has become the biggest animated picture ever, it has become
the top Disney or Pixar film in 27 territories, and broke into the top ten films of all time
globally at the box office, became the first billion-dollar film from Disney Animation
Studios, and won two Academy Awards. Needless to say this film has been integrated
into our culture and since it has reached a new height of popularity how can it reference a
famous painting about sex go so unnoticed.

Before further analyzing this transformation piece, Im going to explain who
Fragonard was, the art period he worked in, and the symbolism behind his piece. The
Rococo style of painting was originally intended for the purely decorative arts. The artists
used delicate colors and curving forms, including symbolism through forms of cherubs
and myths of love. Some works during this time period showed impurities in the behavior
of their subjects as a sort of revolt against Baroque's church and state orientation.
According to Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker after the reign on Louis XIV there
was a shift from classism towards a new style called Rococo. This style abandoned the
monarchy and replaced it with aristocracy. During this period the aristocracy was a small
percentage of the population of France but held enormous political power and wealth.
Jessica Territo 9/30/2014 3:53 PM
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Fiagonaiu piece befoie this paiagiaph of
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This small population chose to pursue a life of leisure and involved themselves in
romantic intrigues. Their culture was being built on luxury and excess that can all be seen
through paintings such as The Swing by Fragonard. Fte galante was also a big influence
to the Rococo period; it is a term referring to a category of painting specially created by
the French Academy in 1717 to describe Antoine Watteaus variations on the theme. Fte
galante paintings focus on the European arts move away from the hierarchical,
standardized grandeur of the church and royal court and toward an appreciation for
intimacy and personal pleasures.
The Swing titled painting is oil on canvas created in 1767 by Jean-Honor
Fragonard. It was created during the Rococo period where artists emphasized pastel
colors, sinuous curves, and patterns based on flowers. They turned to sensual colors and
light and went from religious and historical subjects to mythological scenes, views of
daily life, and portraiture. The Rococo color appealed more to the sensual rather than the
intellectual side. The outdoor scene used soft light filtering through the trees and
backlighting them, infusing the scene with a soft, seductive glow. This painting
references fetes-galantes or pastoral love, which focuses on sexual encounters in the
outdoors. The French libertine Baron de St. Julien commissioned this painting to be a
portrait of his mistress, and can be quoted saying: "I should like you to paint Madame
seated on a swing being pushed by a Bishop." This request was turned down by a large
amount of artists but was picked up by painter Fragonard due to his extremely sensuous
ingenuity. The painting depicts a young man hidden in the bushes thought to be Baron,
watching his mistress on a swing being pushed by an older man. This older men was
requested by Baron to be a bishop but was changed by Fragonard to be the mistresss
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husband. The husband plays a less important role presented cast away in the shadows
unaware of the lover, whereas Baron is illuminated under the womans dress arms
outstretched and peeping under her garments. The woman is wearing a bergere hat, which
is ironic since shepherds are normally associated with virtue because of their living close
to nature, uncorrupted by the temptations of the city. The woman allows the younger man
to creep under her dress all while her shoe flies off easily to show her playful and
frivolousness, which helps accentuate the erotic subject. The two cherubs under the
woman appear concerned by the actions of the humans, one looks at the women
concerned and the other looks away in distaste. On the left side of the image is a stone
statue of Cupid who raises a finger to his lips in a hush-hush action; this is used to point
out the impending affair. Overall The Swing is full of symbolism that captures a moment
of spontaneity and sexual innuendos.
One of the paintings imitated in the movie Frozen is a remodeled version of the
painting "The Swing" originally by the French Rococo artist Jean-Honor Fragonard, a
painting which greatly inspired Tangled according to Glen Keane, one of Disneys
foremost lead character animators. This recreation can be seen during the song For the
First Time in Forever, when character Anna leaps into the air and sings the line to
dream Id find romance. Not to single out any one employee of Disney but we can
acknowledge that Disney animators knew what artist they were referencing and now we
can question their integrity. Because all Disney employees have to be educated with the
knowledge and training to act ethically and legally, they would have to be aware of the
sexual connotations behind the famous painting of The Swing. Animators confirmed
that they borrowed from Fragonard, so one can ask whyd they choose this particular
Jessica Territo 9/30/2014 3:55 PM
Comment [4]: uieat usage of ait histoiy
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painting when the artist is renowned for his sexual themes? If you look closely at the
painting you can be well assured that its not an exact duplication of the original, there is
no peeping Tom, instead the animators reference the carefree joyous spirit of a young girl
in love and utilize Fragonards bright colors. This is what the Disney cast would call a
homage. Although the animators intentions might have been good-hearted, the
character singing For the First Time in Forever combined with the sexual themes of
The Swing equals a scene of Annas desperation for attention. This moment can be
recognized as a girl willing and ready for a mans attention as Anna replaces the
mistresss position in the painting. There is also an audience to take under consideration
when viewing both the movie and the painting. The original viewer of the painting puts
you in the same position as the man watching the mischievous girl and without the guy in
the bushes it puts the attention on the princess, shifting the focus completely. Back then
the painting was popular with the aristocracy but not the philosophers of the time who
didnt accept this vulgar display. In modern time this painting is revered and holds a
place in our pop culture where it can be referenced in a Disney film viewed by families.
Nowadays the painting is admired but nonetheless continues to emulate sex, is it okay to
present it to families?
The overall purpose by Disney of using Fragonards piece in Frozen is to pay
respect to this renowned artist while utilizing his color pallet and carefree spirit of the
girl. By comparing the animated version of The Swing by Disney and the original
painting, the viewer can see that there were very Disney-like changes to alter the
meaning; however no matter how many modifications are made to make this about a
princess not a mistress, it is still undoubtedly referencing a sexual painting.
Jessica Territo 9/30/2014 3:56 PM
Comment [5]: uieat point!
Jessica Territo 9/30/2014 3:59 PM
Comment [6]: Conclusion wiaps up youi
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this topic aftei they aie uone ieauing.
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Work Cited:

Bjorkman, James. "Animated Film Reviews." "Frozen" Hidden Treats. Blogger, 10 Dec.
2013. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.

"The Swing (painting)." The Swing. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Sept. 2014. Web. 28
Sept. 2014.

"Just What Was Disney Thinking with That Fragonard Reference?" The Big Bang Life.
WordPress, 23 July 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.

Eccles, Jacquelynne. "The Development of Children Ages 6 to 14." Future of Children.
Princeton Bookings, 1999. Web. 28 Sept. 2014

Company, Walt Disney. "Business and Ethics Standards." The Walt Disney Company.
Disney Corporate. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.

Harris, Dr. Beth, and Dr. Steven Zucker. "Fragonard's The Swing." Rococo.
Smarthistory. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.

"Frozen." Disney Wiki. Wikia, 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.

"Glen Keane." Disney Wiki. Wikia, 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.

"The Swing." The Home of Passionate Art Lovers. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.

Stedman, Alex. "'Frozen' Becomes the Highest-Grossing Animated Film Ever." Variety.
WordPress, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.

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