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

'La Brioche' (Cake)

Oil on canvas, 47 x 56 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Chardin ranks as one of the forerunners of modern painting. Volumes and empty spaces stand in a reciprocal relationship within his compositions. There is a magical quality to the mutual self-definition of the assembled objects, each of which possesses its own field of tension and individual aura. Chardin succeeds in lending objects an emotional dimension, in animating them, without stripping them of their concrete tangibility His achievement consists of enriching a painting based on art and tradition with everyday experience, actualised thanks to direct observation from nature. His masterly brushwork interprets his preliminary studies and eschews the danger of formulaic banality and the vapid perpetuation of well-known motifs.