Chardin was a wonderful French late-Baroque painter of still lifes and domestic scenes. He painted realistic tranquil settings and enjoyed success during his life, including selling some works to King Louis XV. As he got older though, his sight faded,he had to switch to pastels to see what he was doing and his art style fell out of fad with the snooty French academy. His work fell into obscurity before being rediscovered in the middle of the 19th century when French (and other) artists of that era returned to the same sorts of realistic styles, themes, and subject matter and got away from either the puffy flying seraphim of the Roccoco era or the stiff-armed noble society-savers and blemish-less figures of David and Ingres et al.
By the mid 19th century, more scenes of the real life of average people appeared, whether it was Millet or Daumier or others, and the still lifes and landscapes gave us back some rustic qualities. And artists returned to painting the things that REALLY MATTER: CATS.
Well, maybe not… cats have always been wonderful subjects for artists since they’re so wonderfully exotic, curvy and in the case of this work by Chardin, capable of wonderfully emotive facial expressions. That cat doesn’t want to just get a few bites out of that fish, that cat is telling you he OWNS that fish and will DOMINATE IT by eating it right out from under you.
And that goes double for those two hanging suckers as well, bubba.
Now go scoop my litterbox. I don’t care if you are Louis XV, never forget who really is the king around here, you powdered wigged fop sack of merde.Continue reading “Friday Art: Still Life With Cat & Fish by Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin (1728)”