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

The Attentive Nurse

Oil on canvas, 46 x 37 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

The Attentive Nurse, or the Nourishment of Convalescence, as it was described in the Salon catalogue of 1747, is one of Chardin's most refined and exquisitely finished paintings. The scene depicts a nurse who is evidently preparing a meal for an invalid. While the delicacy of the treatment is typical of eighteenth century, the choice of a genre subject shows the influence of seventeenth century Dutch domestic scenes, which Chardin studied in his youth.

At the Salon of 1747 it was exhibited together with a companion piece. It is debated whether the other painting was the Kitchen Maid or the Servant Returning from the Market.