The Gardens of the Villa d'Este, Tivoli (The Little Park), c. 1760
Fragonard worked for a month in Tivoli drawing and sketching. Possibly one of his most notable works to come out of his time there was The Gardens of the Villa d'Este, Tivoli (The Little Park). Done in oils, the composition is a view into the garden, where several figures work, relax and tour.
The foreground is lit by a warm glow, possibly from a sun spot, where two figures lounge near the guarding stone lions. A third figure pushes a barrel along the walkway and there are others behind him. The statute behind these figures lead the viewer up to the above garden area, which can be seen through engulfing foliage. The trees bend and create a frame for us, and the figures within are flanked by two large statutes on each side. Through this lush frame appears to be a wide open area, where the sun casts a general daylight and two figures wander, admiring the landscape.
As a whole, the dominating growth of nature really swallows the figures. They become small and almost ant like next to the bushy trees and vines which reach out towards them. Even the stone fencing is swallowed by the flourishing plants. They are not static either. They move and quiver in the wind, swirl around the scene and frame those within. They cast shadow and shade, while overwhelming all that is man-made.