Dec 17, 2007

Kitchen Utensils with Leeks, Fish, and Eggs

Kitchen Utensils with Leeks, Fish, and Eggs

c. 1734

Jean-Siméon Chardin

(French, 1699–1779)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 52.5 x 60.5 x 7.5 cm (20 11/16 x 23 13/16 x 2 15/16 in.); Unframed: 32.2 x 40.7 cm (12 11/16 x 16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1980.37


Chardin was already famous by 1730, when he began to paint small, sparse still lifes of kitchen utensils. He often used the same elements in his compositions, varying slightly the position of the objects and adding or subtracting a utensil—always carefully placing each in relation to the rest to achieve a balanced design. Chardin was the contemporary of François Boucher (1703–1770) and he taught Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806), but his work is a contrast to theirs, representing the naturalistic tendency that persisted alongside the more fashionable lightness, grace, and playfulness of the Rococo. Chardin discovered a hidden poetry in even the most humble objects, bringing the viewer into an earthly world experienced with directness and simplicity.


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