Still Life with Fish, Vegetables, Gougéres, Pots, and Cruets on a Table, Jean-Siméon Chardin
The original is in the collection of the Getty Museum, which has both a zoomable image, and a large (21MB) downloadable file available on their website. There is also a zoomable file on Google Art Project, and a downloadable version of that somewhat smaller file on Wikikedia Commons.
Though there are other still life painters that I admire greatly (Luis Meléndez springs to mind), there is something special for me in the still life paintings of 18th century French master Jean-Siméon Chardin.
Part of it is his mastery of painting, his subtle, harmonious compositions, brilliant command of edges and tactile surface qualities, but part of his appeal is ineffable — a rare sense of the suspension of time, and an almost magical suggestion that the ordinary is, in fact, extraordinary, if only we would slow down and look.
In a season frequently and too loudly declared to be “magical”, but often represented instead by the flashy special effects of billboard consumerism, perhaps there is still magic to be found in quiet moments with family and friends, and the simple pleasures of food.
4 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Chardin’s Still Life with Fish, Vegetables, Gougéres, Pots, and Cruets on a Table”
Do you think the painting has darkened with time? Seems quite dark, perhaps sharper when seen directly.
That may be. I also find that many images of paintings on the sites of the institutions that have them in their collection seem to be intentionally darker than the originals. I haven’t see the original of this work, so I can’t judge the accuracy of the reproduction.
“We have learned from Chardin that a pear is as living as a woman, that an ordinary piece of pottery is as beautiful as a precious stone.”
~ Marcel Proust
Why is the Baptiste in his name omitted?
Thanks, ælle. The name is just a simplification; I’ve see his name in museum listings as: Jean Chardin, Jean-Siméon Chardin and Jean-Babtiste-Siméon Chardin.
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