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The Oath of Love, after Fragonard, c. 1786.
IN THE FIRST of the allegories, begun in 1780, two lovers embrace and swear, in the words inscribed on a tablet, an "oath to love for one's entire life." The Oath of Love introduces the elements that will characterize the series: statues of Cupid in overgrown garden settings, and vivid contrasts of light and shade. But in contrast to the classical costumes seen in the other paintings, the lovers in The Oath wear contemporary clothing.

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