Feb 1, 2007

Still Life with Herrings

Still Life with Herrings

c. 1735

Jean-Siméon Chardin

(French, 1699–1779)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 58.5 x 50.5 x 8.5 cm (23 1/16 x 19 7/8 x 3 3/8 in.); Unframed: 41 x 33.6 cm (16 1/8 x 13 1/4 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1974.1


Chardin reflected intensely on the act of observation. Still life became a forum for sophisticated performances in paint, and his complex technique—he famously worked in private—uses a staggering combination of delicate glazes and roughly dragged thick paint to capture the varied surfaces, atmospheres, and spaces in this humble pantry shelf. Acutely aware of recent developments in optics and physics, Chardin explored ideas about light, shadow, and color, and fully expected his work to be inspected closely.

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