(b. ca. 1610, Pithiviers, d. 1663, Paris)

Still-life with Chessboard (The Five Senses)

Oil on panel, 55 x 73 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

In this picture the archaic arrangement of objects seems rather meagre compared with Dutch still-lifes at that time. Baugin's paintings are dominated by aesthetic elements that reflect a strict Calvinist morality. The symbolic props have been placed very economically: a dark mirror represents sight, a bunch of carnations in a vase - smell, bread and wine - taste, a chessboard in a closed box - touch, and finally the vermilion mandolin - hearing. These are not far from a game of cards (with a Jack of Spades on top) and a tied-up purse. Similar to 'Merry Society' type of paintings, music is regarded as morally corrupt and in opposition to the eucharistic symbols of bread and wine.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 12 minutes):
Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto in G major for two mandolins and orchestra, RV 532