JEAN BAPTISTE CHARDIN 1699 -
xxxxxBorn in Paris, the son of a carpenter, Jean Baptise Chardin never left his native city. He had a natural talent as an artist, and was influenced by earlier Dutch artists, such as Pieter de Hooch. Unlike his contemporaries -
xxxxxThe French painter Jean Baptiste Chardin, in contrast to the highly Rococo pastoral scenes of his fellow artists -
xxxxxHe was born in Paris, the son of a carpenter, and as far as we can gather, never left his city, or, indeed, his district. He had a natural talent and, influenced by the earlier Dutch artists -
xxxxxIn 1740 Chardin met the king, Louis XV, (who purchased a number of his works), and within a few years he was at the height of his career. His scenes of calm family life, whether it be men and women at work, or children at play, proved particularly popular among the royal houses and aristocrats of Europe -
xxxxxIn his portrayal of everyday objects and modest events, his painting was somewhat ahead of its time. He was not so much concerned with detail as with shape, texture and the harmony of colour. His exquisite still-
xxxxxBut he was not to enjoy fame or happiness in the latter part of his life. The subject matter of his work began to lose favour in the art world. His responsibilities within the Academy were slowly whittled down, and his pension was reduced. Meanwhile in his home life he suffered a personal tragedy when his son, with whom he had quarrelled, committed suicide -
xxxxxIncidentally, we are told that on one occasion a fellow artist was pontificating about the methods he used to prepare his colours for painting. Chardin listened impatiently and then tersely replied that an artist did not paint with colour; he used colour, but he painted with feeling! You might feel that that sums up the man as well as his talent.