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

The Attributes of Art

Oil on canvas, 113 x 145 cm
Institute of Arts, Minneapolis

Along with the elaborate meal-tables and fruit and game pieces, in the 1760s Chardin began to paint still-lifes of a more sheerly decorative kind, with musical instruments and attributes of the sciences and the arts in the shape of a microscope, books, portfolios, and plaster models, the natural and the physical are replaced by artifacts and the mental. The still-life shown in the picture, which once belonged to Pigalle's widow, contains a plaster model of Pigalle's Mercury.

Several of these still-lifes were commissioned as overdoors for the royal châteaux, and then repeated.