First published in France in 1994, Chardin
expands on the work of Georges Wildenstein in the 1933 book, Chardin
, and Pierre Rosenberg
's catalog for the great Chardin
exhibition of 1979. Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin was largely a self-taught painter who took the Academy of Painting by storm in 1728 despite the lowly status enjoyed by most still-life painters in his day. Though he rescued the academy's finances and won great artistic influence, he was never allowed to teach and was denied the academy's higher honors because he was a "painter of animals and fruit." Even so, for 20 years he performed the important task of hanging salon exhibits. Chardin
examines the painter's career through his paintings and the writings of his contemporaries.
From Publishers Weekly
While 18th-century Parisian painter Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin (1699-1779) is often linked to Flemish and Dutch still lifes, French art historian and gallery director Michel views him as quintessentially French in his sensitivity, spirit, coloristic skill and ineffable touch. And where other critics perceive symbolism or concealed messages, she sees only irreplaceable, unique moments, timelessly rendered, as in Soap Bubbles. Although the heavily annotated, dry text will be of interest mainly to scholars, the nearly 300 illustrations (half of them in color, including scores of full-page plates) make this an attractive coffee-table album. It reproduces numerous genre scenes, portraits and domestic interiors (Lady Taking Tea, The Cellar Boy, Game of Knucklebones) from far-flung museums and private collections. Chardin's ironic self-portraits, with their deeply penetrating gaze and air of affable authority, provide perhaps the best key to the mysterious magic of his still, yet vibrant, compositions.
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