Thursday, June 14, 2007
Fine Art Friday: Chardin's Grace Before the Meal
Jean Baptiste Chardin (1699-1779)was the great "genre" painter of 18th-century France, probably best known for his painting of a boy blowing a large bubble from a window. Although he painted still lifes, Chardin's ouevre celebrates the daily home life of the emerging French middle class, showing a reverence and respect for the work of women in making the home a place of sustenance, nurturance, and devotion to God--portaits of the maid bringing home the day's food from the market, a young woman teaching a young child his ABCs, a mother listening to her daughter reciting the Gospel, a girl peeling vegetables, an "attentive nurse," and a woman peeling turnips, among them. His still lifes, as the one shown below, often celebrates the apparently mundane objects of the kitchen, which the painter imbues with a hallowed aura. In many ways, Chardin was following in the footsteps of the great Dutch painter, Jan Vermeer) (also see an earlier post on Vermeer's painting as a celebration of Mary and Martha).