Genieve Figgis

Genieve Figgis was born in 1972 in Dublin and lives and works out of County Wicklow in the idyllic Irish countryside. Figgis takes inspiration from aristocratic culture—especially that of the French pre-revolutionary Rococo period, and reinvents them in what we can see below, using a thick painterly style and injecting a sense of humour and darkness. There is a dream like state to this painting, especially the young woman on the swing appears as if she has stopped in time with her onlookers beneath in awe of her.

Genieve Figgis, The Swing after Fragonard, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 31½” x 23½”.

Below is the original ‘The Swing’ by Fragonard, we can see here that Figgis has really transformed the below idyllic, warm, care-free summer scene, into something more otherworldly and macabre. Instead of the chubby angelic creatures below in the original, in Figgis’ reimagined scene those figures look as if they could be demons or ghosts or perhaps some other mystical creatures.

The Swing, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Oil on canvas, 1767

I really enjoyed recreating Figgis’ The Swing, the deep blacks and pastel colours and dancing brush strokes were fun to paint. Although in the scanned image below the colour appears a little flat and dull I think this is caused by the light used in the scan, as in real life they are more vibrant and akin to Figgis’ original. I used swiping brush stokes as well as smaller brushes for stippling the leaves and shadow. Comparing the images now, I perhaps could have used a smaller brush again to add in some more detail and reworked the face a little, there is a noticeable grin on Figgis’ painting of the woman on the swing which mine is lacking and takes away from the sense of joy in this disturbing scene.

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