Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin was arguably the most talented French painter of the eighteenth century, best known for his original still lifes. Composed of simple, everyday objects, these works glow with warmth and magic, from the dull iron of the kitchen pans, to the glaze of the green earthenware jug or the shining copper of the cauldron. There is no superfluous detail or search for decorative effect; the beauty of his paintings lies in their minimalism. Chardin received early recognition for his work, becoming a member of the French Royal Academy in 1728 at the age of only twenty-nine. Following the success of his early still lifes and inspired no doubt by his Dutch seventeenth-century predecessors, whose work was very much in vogue in Paris at the time, Chardin went on to paint some exquisite genre scenes and portraits, remarkable for their realism and honesty as well as for their technique. His works had a tremendous influence on subsequent artists, inspiring painters as diverse as Courbet, Manet and Cezanne.
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