Sunday, 7 February 2010


“When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work.  I told her I worked at the college - that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, ‘You mean they forget?’ ” - Howard Ikemoto

For Art Sunday today, French artist of the 18th century. Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, (1699-1779), one of the greatest painters of the 18th century, whose genre and still life subjects immortalised the life of the Paris bourgeoisie of the time. Simple still lives and unsentimental domestic interiors were amongst his favourite subjects. His paintings use restrained and muted tones and there is a great ability to render textures. His unusual abstract compositions had great influence at the time.

Chardin was born in Paris, November 2, 1699, the son of a cabinetmaker. He was largely self-taught, but was strongly influenced by 17th-century Dutch masters such as Metsu and de Hooch. Like them, he devoted himself to simple subjects and common themes. His lifelong work in this deceptively style contrasted greatly with the epic historical subjects and light-hearted rococo scenes that were the mainstream of art during the mid-18th century.

Chardin was admitted to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1728 on the basis of two early still life paitings, “The Skate” and “The Buffet” (both 1728, in the Louvre, Paris). In the 1730s, he began to paint scenes of everyday life in bourgeois Paris. These are characterised by subdued colours and mellow lighting, and they celebrate the beauty of their commonplace subjects and project an of honest domesticity and intimacy. Chardin’s technical skill gave his paintings a very realistic texture. He rendered forms by means of light by using thick, layered brushstrokes and thin, luminous glazes. He was called the grand magician by critics, and he achieved a mastery in still life painting unequalled by any other 18th-century painter. Chardin's early support came from aristocratic patrons, including King Louis XV. He later gained a wider popularity when engraved copies of his works were produced. He turned to pastels in later life when his eyesight began to fail. Unappreciated at the time, these pastels are now highly valued. Chardin died in Paris, December 6, 1779.

Here is his “Still Life with Attributes of the Arts” of 1766.


  1. What a beautiful painting. I had not seen this one before. I know his paintings of the little boy blowing soap bubbles.

  2. I love this, it's gorgeous!!!!