The Silver Tureen

Jean Siméon Chardin French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 629

In 1728 Chardin was admitted to the French Royal Academy, immediately establishing himself as the century’s most famous still-life painter. This work comes from that early moment in his career. Chardin and his patrons appreciated seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art, including earthy still-lifes that departed from courtly splendor. Chardin set up a careful balance of form that contrasts the living and dead, the raw and cooked. Fur, feathers, orange rind, and reflective silver are visually convincing yet never disguise the rough texture of paint. The leading art critic of the day, Denis Diderot, praised how Chardin seemed to grind “the very substance” of the things into his pigments: “You dip your brush in air and light and spread them on your canvas.”

The Silver Tureen, Jean Siméon Chardin (French, Paris 1699–1779 Paris), Oil on canvas

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