National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Still Life with Game Jean Siméon Chardin (artist)
French, 1699 - 1779
Still Life with Game, probably 1750s
oil on canvas
overall: 49.6 x 59.4 cm (19 1/2 x 23 3/8 in.) framed: 72.2 x 82.1 x 8.3 cm (28 7/16 x 32 5/16 x 3 1/4 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1952.5.36
On View
From the Tour: 18th-Century France — Chardin and Portraiture
Object 2 of 11

When Chardin returned to still-life painting late in his life, he employed a freer style than the more refined technique he had used for figures. His contemporaries painted dead game with trompe-l'oeil (literally, "fool the eye") realism and great virtuosity, but Chardin chose instead to evoke the limp plumpness of these animals with softness and a certain ambiguity. An array of tones spreads like light diffusing across this canvas. Vivid highlights of turquoise and coral in the feathers punctuate the warm neutrals and are echoed with ever diminishing strength from left to right. The feathers are painted with smooth scalloping arcs, while the fur of the rabbits is made with thicker paint puckered on the surface. Approach the painting, as the critic Diderot suggested visitors to the Salon exhibitions do, and the forms of the game disappear into a mosaic of pure paint. "Move away," Diderot continued, "and everything creates itself and reappears."

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