Friday, December 25, 2009

ONE PAINTS WITH FEELING




Selfportrait with glasses
Oil on canvas
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Visipix
From ARC


Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was born in the Paris artists' quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés on November 2, 1699. As the oldest son of a master carpenter, who produced billiard tables for the king, Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was obviously expected to take over the father's business and was therefore trained as a carpenter. Soon, however, it turned out, that his talent as a painter surmounted his skills as a craftsman.His father therefore sent Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin to Pierre-Jacques Craze's studio when he was 19 years old. He continued his education as an artist under Noël-Nicolas Coypel, who aroused his interest in still life. In spite of these apprentice years, Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin remained largely an autodidact. In 1724 Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin became a master of the 'Sint Lucas Gilde'.
(ART directory)
Modest in scale and muted in palette, Chardin's still lifes of kitchen utensils and foodstuffs presented a naturalistic alternative to the more decorative Rococo aesthetic that prevailed in the early to mid eighteenth century. During the late 1720s and 1730s, Chardin painted a series of about thirty modest, small-scale still lifes of kitchen utensils and foodstuffs, in both horizontal and vertical formats. The compositions draw from a limited repertoire of everyday objects, and adduce no superfluous details or anecdotal references. They focus instead on the simple forms of the objects, the nature of their materials, and variable reflections of light. In the development of these works, Chardin's style gradually became more fluid and painterly, less minutely detailed than in his earlier still lifes.
(M. E. Wieseman at ALLEN MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM)


Still Life with Pestle, Bowl, Copper Cauldron, Onions and a Knife
Oil on canvas
Musee Cognacq-Jay (Paris, France)
This image is courtesy of Michael Talibard
From ARC


Still Life with Copper Cauldron and Eggs
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre, Paris, France
This image is courtesy of Michael Talibard
From ARC


The Fast Day Meal
Oil on copper
Musee du Louvre, Paris, France
This image is courtesy of Michael Talibard.
From ARC


Still Life with Carafe, Silver Goblet and Fruit
Oil on canvas
Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany
This image is courtesy of Michael Talibard
From ARC


The Silver Cup
Oil on canvas
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Visipix
From ARC


Still-Life with Pipe and Jug
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre, Paris, France
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


Still-Life with Jar of Olives
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre (Paris, France)
this image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art


The Governess
Oil on canvas, 1739
National Museum (Stockholm, Sweden)
Source allartpainting.com
From Wikimedia Commons


Still Life with a Rib of Beef
Oil on canvas
Allen Memorial Art Museum (Oberlin, Ohio, USA)
This image is courtesy of the Michael Talibard
From ARC


Still Life with a Rib of Beef (above) embodies perfectly the subtle, understated nature of these profoundly simple pictures. The muted, almost monochromatic palette is offset by the red flesh of the hanging meat and the white napkin draped over the table edge at left. Several of the objects represented in the painting--the copper cauldron and the earthenware jug, the long-handled skimmer--appear in other, similar compositions by the artist.
There are several versions known of Still Life with a Rib of Beef; indeed, many of Chardin's kitchen still lifes from the 1730s exist in multiple autograph versions (i.e., copies made by the artist himself). Chardin was evidently a slow and painstaking craftsman, keen on achieving the precise harmonies of light and texture that distinguish his work. The artist's contemporaries observed that his paintings resulted from a long, evolutionary process of meditation, decision, and revision, and collectors often became impatient waiting for the completion of their paintings. Chardin's decision to repeat certain compositions--sometimes incorporating very minor adjustments or alterations--took advantage of the effort invested in attaining a successful formula, and also efficiently handled the growing demand for his works.
A version of the Oberlin composition in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, signed and dated 1730 and thus among Chardin's earliest dated still lifes of kitchen utensils, is generally accepted as the primary version of this work. The Oberlin painting is regarded as an autograph replica of the Bordeaux painting, in which the somewhat hesitant brushwork and distracting highlights of the earlier version have been better resolved, and the overall execution is much neater and tighter. The Bordeaux Still Life with a Rib of Beef was probably originally paired with the Still Life with Ray and Basket of Onions, dated 1731, now in The North Carolina Museum of Art. The latter painting exists in as many as nine versions; none, however, have been specifically linked to the painting at Oberlin.
(M. E. Wieseman at ALLEN MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM)


The Ray
Oil on canvas, 1728
Musee du Louvre (Paris, France)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art


His paintings are characterised by subdued colours and mellow lighting. He used thick, layered brush strokes and luminous glazes to create a realistic texture. His subjects have a feel of being captured in time. In Pierre Rosenberg's words: "The world that Chardin imposes on his figures is a closed world, a stopped world... a world at rest, a world of infinite duration."
He had many patrons, including King Louis XV, who gave him an apartment in Louvre and a pension. From 1734 to 1751, he painted scenes from everyday life before turning his attention to still life paintings. Between 1771 and 1775, due to failing eyesight he drew portraits in pastel crayons, which though not very popular then, are now considered the finest of their kind.
Chardin's passion for honesty in the face of the opulence of the time drew admiration from thinkers like Denis Diderot who wrote: "Welcome back, great magician, with your mute compositions! How eloquently they speak to the artist! How much they tell him about the representation of nature, the science of colour and harmony! How freely the air flows around these objects!"
(MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER at THE HINDU)


Die Morgentoilette
National Museum Stockholm
Source The Yorck Project
From Wikimedia Commons


The Draughtsman
Oil on wood, 1737
Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


The House of Cards
Oil on wood, 1736-1737
National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC, USA))
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art


Girl Peeling Vegetables
Oil on canvas,
Alte Pinakothek (Munich, Bavaria, Germany)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


Return from the market
All images from artinthepicture.com


The Laundress
Oil on canvas, c1730-c1740
Hermitage (St Petersburg, Russian Federation)
This image is courtesy of the Michael Talibard
From ARC


The Young Schoolmistress
Oil on canvas, c1736
National Gallery (London, United Kingdom)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art


The Soap Bubble
Oil on canvas, c1739
Metropolitan Museum of Art (Manhattan, New York, USA)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


The Prayer before Meal
Oil on canvas, 1744
Hermitage (St Petersburg, Russian Federation)
This image is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art
From ARC


Here we see the striking difference between Chardin and painters like Boucher. Chardin stresses deserving and hidden virtues, the contented life of duty, and clean and well-fitting humble dresses - not the coquetry of marquises, garden luncheons, and moonlit promenades.
A circle of figures look at one another and the shape is repeated in the tablecloth and the dishes, part of the circle of tenderness that is work's chief subject. The theme is an old one: a mother teaches her children to recite a prayer before the meal.
A work of simple composition and refined execution, treating a subject of deliberate banality, Grace was an immediate success. The moralization of the subject, exaltation of a simple family life, and palpable intimacy explain the philosopher Diderot's great enthusiasm for Chardin's genre scenes.
Exhibited at the Salon of 1740, this genre scene was purchased by Louis XV and remained in the royal collections until the French Revolution; it then entered the Muséum Central des Arts, which would later become the Louvre, in 1793. A replica of this work, with slight differences, was part of the Dominique Vivant-Denon Collection before being bequeathed to the Louvre in 1869 by Dr. Louis La Caze.
(LOUVRE)


Self-Portrait with an Eye-Shade
Pastel on blue paper, 1775
Louvre, Paris, France
From Olga's Gallery


Madame Chardin
Pastel on blue paper, 1775
Louvre, Paris, France
From ARTCHIVE


By general consent, Jean Siméon Chardin was one of the supreme artists of the eighteenth century and probably the greatest master of still life in the history of painting. Yet there has never been a full dress retrospective of his work, and to mark the 200th anniversary of his death, at the age of eighty in 1779, a huge Chardin show has opened in Paris [review dates from 1979]. Organized by Pierre Rosenberg of the Louvre, it is the kind of exhibit that assigns the Tuts and Pompeiis to the category of show biz trivia where they belong.
To see Chardin's work en masse, in the midst of a period stuffed with every kind of jerky innovation, narcissistic blurting and trashy "relevance," is to be reminded that lucidity, deliberation, probity and calm are still the chief virtues of the art of painting. Chardin has long been a painter's painter, studied and when his work was cheap, coIlected by other artists. He deeply affected at least three of the founders of modern art, Cezanne, Matisse and Braque. Van Gogh compared his depth to Rembrandt's. What seized them in his work was not the humility of his subject matter so much as its ambition as pure painting. The mediation between the eye and the world that Chardin's canvases propose is inexhaustible.
Were he judged merely as a social recorder, he would not have a special place in art history. One does not need to be a historian to know how narrow his field of social vision was. He ignored the public ostentation of his time, as well as the private misery. Most of his paintings are condensed sonnets in praise of the middle path, idealizing the sober life of the Parisian petite bourgeoisie as embodied in his own household. He is said to have had a chirpy sense of humor, and there is certainly a sly irony in his singeries, or monkey paintings, in which hairy little parodies of man play at being painters and connoisseurs.
He did not travel for nourishment. Apart from trips to Versailles, Chardin may not have left Paris once in his life. He was entirely a metropolitan man, and this fact seems oddly at variance with his paintings, since, as Pierre Rosenberg remarks, "one would like to imagine Chardin a solitary individual, a provincial."
(Robert Hughes, "Nothing If Not Critical" at ARTCHIVE)


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