In the notice which he wrote for Abecedaro in 1749, Pierre Jean Mariette calls him 'Chardin (dean Baptiste Siméon)'. On the back of Maurice Quentin de La Tour's portrait of Chardin, in the Louvre, the words ' Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin, born in Paris' (etc.) appear in Chardin's hand. At least seven engravings made after his paintings and during his lifetime are signed 'J. B. S. Chardin'or'J. B. Siméon Chardin'. This point intrigued historians and, in his catalogue of the 1979 exhibition, Pierre Rosenberg printed a notary's deed dated 4 March 1780, i.e., a few months after the painter's death, stating that 'it was in error and inadvertently if, in some titles and documents and particularly in his death certificate, he was called by his baptismal name, Jean Baptiste Siméon, Jean Bpte Simon, or other, instead of Jean Siméon'. The purpose of this deed was clearly to give Chardin's widow access to various pensions which may have been set up in the name of Jean Baptiste Siméon. This little mystery has a simple solution: the child's parents probably chose John the Baptist rather than John the Evangelist as his patron saint and celebrated his name day in June, not December.
Charles Nicolas Cochin the Younger ( 1715-90), famous illustrator and engraver, Secretary of the Académie in charge of the Arts, and Adviser from 1755 to 1770 to the Marquis de Marigny, who then held the post of Directeur des Bétiments du Roi. All references in this regard are to C. Michel's Charles Nikolas Cochin et l'art des Lumières, École Française de Rome, 1993. In particular, Cochin was the author of Essai dur la vie de M. Chardin, a manuscript written in 1780 and kept at the Académie de Rouen, published by C. de Beaurepaire in Précis Analytique des Travaux de l'Académie de Rouen, vol. LXXVIII, 1875-76, pp.417-41.
E. E Gersaint, Abrégée la vie d'Antoine Watteau, 1744.
This distinction was important in the eighteenth century and it was the subject of much theoretical debate and many dictionary definitions. Claude Henri Watelet defined nature, among other meanings, as 'that which is the opposite to what is called practical, i.e., what is done without a model and only out of habit'. ( C. H. Watelet and P. H. Lévéque, Encyclopédie méthodique, Paris, vol. 3, 1791, entry on 'Nature'.)
In recounting this gap, Cochin notes, however, that although education is necessary for the artist, it has the effect of delaying study of the arts. This debate -- which was partly the reason for the creation of the École des Élèves protégés in the 1750s to provide a better 'intellectual' education for young artists and to teach them history, mythology, the major works of literature and poetry, and about the recognized masterpieces of sculpture and painting -- preoccupied academic teaching in the eighteenth century, resulting, after decades and successive directors, in various decisions about the cultural and practical training for young artists.
The date is not known, but it was certainly before 1720, as in April 1720, Noël Nicolas Coypel was a witness at the marriage of one of Chardin's sisters. It was probably the young artist who approached him.
Actually more of a wooden awning which Gersaint described as 'a ceiling [to] display outside .
'Notice historique . . .' Journal de littérature, deo sciences et des art, 1780.
Chardin also painted an oil sketch which he kept until his death and which was burnt at the Hôtel de Ville in 1871. As to the signboard itself, which was quite large (70 x 450 em [27 ½ x 177 in.]), it did not remain long at the surgeon's. It belonged to Jean Philippe Le Bas, the engraver, and was described thus at his home in 1759: 'One sees people in a brawl, fighting with swords, a young man who has been injured and to whom the surgeon is applying a dressing and a priest attending to him in death. The police superintendent, the watchman, the crowd, and people at windows. So much activity makes this picture very animated. The mood differs throughout. The colour tone is good.' (La Feuille nécessaire.) This signboard was purchased at the Le Bas sale in 1783 by the sculptor Juste Sébastien Chardin, a nephew of the painter, after which all trace of it is lost and we only know of its composition thanks to an etching made after the sketch by Jules de Goncourt. If this sign is more or less contemporary with the Gersaint Signboard -- which Chardin would have known -- it is with Watteau's earlier drawings, such as The Fabric Merchant's Shop and, in particular, The Barber'i Shop (Louvre, Department of Graphic Arts) that comparisons about composition should be made.
It is impossible to compare it in style or colouring with the surgeon's signboard, which we is lost. However, the preparatory drawings for Servant Filling a Player's Glass (T.O.P. 2a) and for Man Wearing a Tricorne seated on the right hand side, are not so stylistically different from La Vinaigrette, on the back of which a fragment of a male nude, similar to one of Cazes's nudes, gives us some chronological information. This drawing, like that of the servant pouring a drink, was purchased, more than likely directly from the artist, by Carl Gustaf Tessin, when he was in Paris during the 1740s. Count Tessin, who was Ambassador Extraordinary from the Court of Sweden in Paris from 1739 to 1742, only bought three drawings from Chardin, though he commissioned pictures both for himself and for the future queen, Louisa Ulrica. He may have considered Chardin to be a poor draughtsman and, also, there may not have been any others available in the studio (either because, as is most likely, Chardin had stopped drawing completely, or because he continued to use the few drawings which he had made several years previously).
D. Diderot, Salon de 1765, ed. Seznec and Adhémar, vol. II, 1960.
Reproduced by P. Rosenberg and I. Julia, 'Drawings by Pierre Jean Cazes', Master Drawings, vol. 23-24, no. 3, 1985-86.
See Oudry's lecture entitled Discours la pratique de la peinture given to the Académie in 1752 and published in Cabinet de l'anzateur ( 1861-62, pp. 107-17), in which he discusses Largillierre's theories.
A survivor of the former guilds, the Académie de Saint-Luc trained artisans in all disciplines relating to the arts. This included cabinet-makers and gilders, as well as painters and sculptors, who went on to become masters. In permanent conflict with the Académie Royale which was established in 1648, the Académie de Saint-Luc was dissolved in 1776.
Was it at this time that he joined the team brought together by Jean Baptiste Van Loo to restore the frescoes of one of the galleries at Fontainebleau? Cochin logically places this episode in Chardin's early youth, while he was still a pupil at the Académie. Pierre Rosenberg dates it in the 1730s, which is hard to imagine as Chardin was by then a member of the Académie. This information is based on the knowledge which we have of a campaign to restore the Fraênois I gallery under the direction of J. B. Van Loo in 1733 (see Les Gabriel catalogue, Paris 1982, pp. 47-48). Cochin, writing his Essai dur la vie de, M. Chardin in 1780, may have confused this with earlier restoration work at Fontainebleau in 1723-24 and 1727, dates which would be more logical for work done to earn a living, and for which Chardin would have been well paid on satisfying Van Loo, who became one of his earliest collectors.
The problem with Chardin's dingerief, as with most of his compositions, is that he painted several versions (T.O.P. 23, 24, 93 and 94), most likely at different times in his life. Two of these were exhibited at the Salon in 1740, engraved by Pierre Louis Surugue in 1743 and accompanied by text explaining their significance. On the monkey painter's portfolio, there appears the date 1726. The versions in the Musée de Chartres, which are much smaller and which are by far the finest, came later.
These open-air exhibitions were organized, weather permitting, on Corpus Christi. Individuals were able to display their work there in an effort to become known.
T. E. Crow, Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris, Yale, 1985.
A propos the parallel which is generally drawn between the reception of Watteau and Chardin into the Académie, Christian Michel suggests that the anecdote relating to Watteau draws more from hagiography than biography. The first of his biographers to do this was Gersaint in 1744, i.e., after Chardin's reception, as related to us. On the other hand, neither Orlandi in 1719 nor La Roque, a close friend of Watteau's, in 1721, nor Jean de Jullienne, friend, collector and legatee of the painter, in 1726, mentions the episode. It is thus possible that Gersaint wanted to create a legend inspired by Chardin's reception.
'ìloge historique de M. Chardin', Le Nécrologe des hommes illustres, XV, 1780.
ìloge de. M. Chardin read to the Académie de Rouen in 1780. Published in Mémoires inédits dur la vie et les ouvrages . . ., 1854, Part II, pp. 428-41.
In his Réflexions dur la maniére d'étudier les couleur, Oudry makes a long reference to the admiration of his master, Largillierre, for the Flemish school, particularly because of the training which favoured the study of nature and colour.
Watteau, accepted in 1712, was received in 1717 with his Pilgrimage to the Island of Cythera ( Paris, Louvre).
At the same session the following were received: Dumont le Romain, history painter, with Herculesand Omphale


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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 6
  • Part I - A Parisian Painter 9
  • Chapter One - Painter of Animals, Kitchen Utensils and Vegetables 11
  • Notes 34
  • Chapter Two - Becoming Famous 37
  • Notes 54
  • Chapter Three - The 1750s: a New Direction 57
  • Notes 73
  • Chapter Four - The 1760s: Official Commissions and a Select Clientele 75
  • Notes 91
  • Chapter Five - The Evening of a Beautiful Day 93
  • Notes 104
  • Part II - The Great Magician 106
  • Chapter One - The Painter and the Critics 109
  • Notes 127
  • Chapter Two - Colour, Brushwork and Feeling 129
  • Notes 143
  • Chapter Three - Still Llfe 145
  • Notes 187
  • Chapter Four - Portraits and Genre Scenes 189
  • Notes 233
  • Chapter Five - The Artist and Engravings 237
  • Notes 245
  • Chapter Six - Painting in Chardin's Time 247
  • Notes 262
  • Selected Texts 263
  • Catalogue of Engravings After Chardin 271
  • Bibliography 285
  • Index 289
  • Photographic Credits 293


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