While most 18th-century French painters were in the drawing rooms of
Paris painting fancy rococo ceilings for the aristocracy, Jean-Siméon
Chardin (1699-1779) was in the kitchen trying to capture the likeness of a
turnip. That he more often than not succeeded is proved again and again in
his oeuvre of some thousand paintings. But to hear Chardin, one has to pay
attention. He is never loud, never ostentatious. He whispers the shapes and
colors of the humble objects he depicts. His light caresses. He has no desire
to dazzle. His eye, his brush, himself, are always in the service of what
he is observing. Except that he painted them, we might not see these pots
and pans and vegetables of a country kitchen.
Southgate MT. Still Life With Fish, Vegetables, Gougères, Pots, and Cruets on a Table. JAMA. 2004;291(9):1037. doi:10.1001/jama.291.9.1037
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