Jean-Siméon Chardin, ‘Soap Bubbles’, ca. 1733–1734, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image rights: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Wentworth Fund, 1949), licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal

About Jean-Siméon Chardin

During his life and after, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was venerated as a master of genre painting. Chardin’s primary subject was “la vie silencieuse” (or “the silent life”)—humble, everyday scenes and vignettes. He painted scenes from family life, domestic interiors, still lifes, and ocassional portraits. Chardin was admired by his peers not only for his distinct approach, but also for his ability to manipulate paint to evoke luminosity and tranquility. Not much is certain about his training, other than the time he spent with Pierre-Jacques Cazes and Noël-Nicolas Coypel; historians believe his career ignited upon his entry to the Royal Academy of Painting as a highly regarded member. He admired Jean-Antoine Watteau, though their sensibilities were drastically different. In Chardin’s eulogy, he was remembered for having once said, “One uses colours, but one paints with feeling.”

French, 1699-1779, Paris, France, based in Paris, France

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