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CHARDIN, Jean-B-Siméon/ ARTISTS 1650-1899/ ART MAIN film and food
(b. 1699, Paris, d. 1779, Paris) literature and food
French painter of still lifes and domestic scenes remarkable for their intimate realism and tranquil atmosphere and the luminous quality of their paint. For his still lifes he chose humble objects (Le Buffet, 1728), and for his genre paintings modest events (Dame cachetant une lettre [1733; Lady Sealing a Letter]). He also executed some fine portraits, especially the pastels of his last years. He was nominated to the Royal Academy of Painting in 1728. music and food
photography and food

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La Brioche

French food

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'La Brioche' (Cake)
1763
Oil on canvas, 47 x 56 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
The Buffet
The Buffet
1728
Oil on canvas, 194 x 129 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
The Ray

  

The Ray
1728
Oil on canvas, 114 x 146 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
 

The painting is one of the artist's diploma pieces, on the occasion of his reception into the Académie royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1728.

Artists who were not members of the Académie, and who therefore could not exhibit their work in the Salon, took part once a year in what was known as the 'Salon de Jeunesse', held on the feast of Corpus Christi in the open air, in the Place Dauphine, and lasting two hours. On 3 June 1728 Chardin exhibited several pictures there, including The Ray and The Buffet. Some academicians who saw the work persuaded Chardin to present himself for membership of the Académie royale; on 25 September of the same year, contrary to the usual practice, Chardin was accepted and admitted on one and the same day. The Académie did not insist on a picture specially painted for the occasion, as was usually the case, but retained The Ray and The Buffet as his diploma pieces. It is related that the artist had deceived several academicians, among them Largilliere and Cazes, by showing them some of his still-life paintings which they took for Flemish works. Certainly, the source of inspiration is obvious in The Ray, which surpasses the best work of Jan Fyt.

The rich quality of the paint surface, which is in perfect condition, has been revealed by the recent cleaning of the varnish. The picture is exceptionally well preserved for a work by Chardin; his paintings often suffered from too heavy a use of oil with his pigment. Perhaps this one owes its good condition to the fact that it dates from his early days, when he was applying himself to improving his technique by creating a chef-d'oeuvre carefully executed according to the best principles of true craftsmanship. Later, he trusted too much to his inspiration, and yielded to his passion for worked-up impasto.

 
The Silver Tureen
The Silver Tureen
c. 1728
Oil on canvas, 76,2 x 108 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
 

 

Chardin was a contemporary of Boucher, but no two artists could have been more different. Chardin invariably imbued his deceptively simple compositions with a disregard for mere prettiness. In this still-life Chardin has given ordinary objects of everyday life an aura of dignity and value. The cat creates a sense of conflict between the living and dead animals, underscoring a theme common in Chardin's genre scenes: the evanescence of life.
A "Lean Diet" with Cooking Utensils 

  

A "Lean Diet" with Cooking Utensils
1731
Oil on canvas, 33 x 41 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Chardin's carefully constructed still lifes do not bulge with appetizing foods but are concerned with the objects themselves and with the treatment of light.

An anecdote illustrating Chardin's genius and his unique position in 18th-century painting is told by one of his greatest friends, the engraver Charles-Nicolas Cochin, who wrote a letter shortly after Chardin's death to Haillet de Couronne, the man who was to deliver Chardin's eulogy to the Academy of Rouen, of which Chardin had been a member.

One day, an artist was making a big show of the method he used to purify and perfect his colours. Monsieur Chardin, impatient with so much idle chatter, said to the artist, But who told you that one paints with colours? With what then? the astonished artist asked. One uses colours, replied Chardin, but one paints with feeling.

The Attentive Nurse
The Attentive Nurse
c. 1738
Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington

A woman in apron, cap, and long skirts stands at a small table, the long handle of a pot resting on her left arm. She appears to be shelling an egg for, presumably, an invalid. On the table before her is a plate with another egg on it, a loaf of bread, and a pitcher and goblet. The background is dark, and the image of the nurse and the table seem to glow warmly in contrast. The woman is intent on her task and appears unhurried.

The nurse in this painting is not in a rush; she is carefully preparing food for the person in her care. Given the time period, she is not a scientifically trained modern nurse, but rather a servant or family member of the patient. Much has changed in nursing since this time, but the image of doctor as cure-giver and the nurse as care-giver (and, of course, of the doctor as man and the nurse as woman) remains with many of us. And regardless of our images of nursing, our fears about modern medicine include fears not only about technology, side effects, and denial of access but also about the potential (real?) loss of attention to basic human needs--for nutritious food, attentiveness, a kind touch.

Girl, Peeling Vegetables
Girl Peeling Vegetables
 -
Oil on canvas, 46 x 37 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich
Chardin's work contains, in every sense of the word, a moral: the importance of truth, the necessity for strict guidance of children, the dignity of labour. He never weakens his art by explicit statement of such things; they are the essential fibre out of which it grows, and everything we know suggests that they were his own beliefs. The public understood him instinctively and probably always preferred his genre scenes to his still-lives. His Salon appearances were - especially in the years before Greuze arrived - outstandingly successful.

This is one of the several versions made by Chardin of this subject.

Still-Life with Dead Pheasant and Hunting Bag
Still-Life with Dead Pheasant and Hunting Bag
1760
Oil on canvas, 72 x 58 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
This still-life was painted by the artist during his later years. In 1728 he was accepted as a painter of animals and fruit at the Paris Academy of Art without having to fulfil the usual requirements.

The structure of this painting is simpler than in his earlier still-lifes, and Chardin has reduced the number of objects to a minimum. By singling out and thus monumentalizing the motif of the bird, Chardin gives it considerably more emphasis. According to the categories of feudal game law, the pheasant was seen as reserved for the nobility, but the hunting trophy which has been attached to the pheasant has, from a bourgeois point of view, lost its value of triumphantly demonstrating man's lordship over nature. However, the way in which the pheasant is rendered does not indicate in any way that colour is gradually becoming detached from the object. Rather, the careful, delicate application of the paint - even in the more roughened structures - heightens the element of sensitive empathy. Unlike the game still-lifes of his contemporaries - which have a smooth, cold objectiveness about them - the artist has created an atmosphere of intimacy between the viewer and the object.

 
Still-Life with Bottle of OIlives
Still-Life with a Bottle of Olives
1760
Oil on canvas, 71 x 98 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
It may be called "The Jar of Olives" but that gorgeous creamy white and gold Meissen soup tureen next to it, spotlighted as it is, ineluctably draws the eye. Diderot adored this painting and actually wrote a lengthy homage to it.

Return from the Market
1739
Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Chardin was one of the greatest of the 18th century, whose genre and still-life subjects documented the life of the Paris bourgeoisie. He favoured simple still-lives and unsentimental domestic interiors. His muted tones and ability to evoke textures are seen in the Return from Market.
The Prayer before the Meal
The Prayer before Meal
1744
Oil on canvas, 50 x 38,5 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Water Glass and Jug

 

Water Glass and Jug
c. 1760
Oil on canvas, 32,5 x 41 cm
Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh
Diderot could have no higher praise of a Chardin still-life than to say: 'C'est la nature même.' And for him Chardin remained the great magician-painter whose canvases deceived the eye by their tremendous realism, down to the very textures of the objects painted. Such pictures kept the spectator completely within his own experience, and to some extent that is true of all the pictures painted by Chardin - including those genre scenes which were executed chiefly in the years before Diderot wrote of the Salons, but which are also in their way still-lives. Neither category of picture was novel, and Chardin might seem merely to be practicing what had been among the most typical products of Dutch seventeenth-century painting.