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Beauty
March 2004

Jean-Siméon Chardin's The House of Cards

Author Affiliations

Institute of Fine Arts
New York University
New York, NY

 

Institute of Fine Arts
 New York University
 New York, NY


Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2004;6(2):144. doi:10.1001/archfaci.6.2.144

The tranquil still lifes and domestic scenes of Jean-Siméon Chardin are among the most beloved and recognizable paintings of the 18th century. Chardin's reputation as a painter of genre and still life rests primarily upon the transformative power of his art. Although his humble subjects largely derive from 17th-century Dutch examples, Chardin's subtle treatment of his themes resonates as distinctly modern. Unlike the chatty, crowded tableaux popularized by his contemporaries, Chardin distills his narratives to their essential elements. In contrast to the noisy family dramas of Greuze and the elegantly crowded fêtes galantes of Watteau, Chardin's quiet genre paintings are inhabited by few figures, all of whom are immersed in their domestic activities and wholly unaware of the presence of the viewer.

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