CHARDIN, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon
(b. 1699, Paris, d. 1779, Paris)

A "Lean Diet" with Cooking Utensils

Oil on canvas, 33 x 41 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Chardin's carefully constructed still lifes do not bulge with appetizing foods but are concerned with the objects themselves and with the treatment of light.

An anecdote illustrating Chardin's genius and his unique position in 18th-century painting is told by one of his greatest friends, the engraver Charles-Nicolas Cochin, who wrote a letter shortly after Chardin's death to Haillet de Couronne, the man who was to deliver Chardin's eulogy to the Academy of Rouen, of which Chardin had been a member.

One day, an artist was making a big show of the method he used to purify and perfect his colours. Monsieur Chardin, impatient with so much idle chatter, said to the artist, But who told you that one paints with colours? With what then? the astonished artist asked. One uses colours, replied Chardin, but one paints with feeling.