Soap Bubbles

Jean Siméon Chardin French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 629

From a glass of soapy water, a young man blows a bubble, its iridescent, translucent surface caught in the sunlight. A child peers eagerly over the ledge without breaking the atmosphere of silent concentration. In earlier Northern European painting, this subject carried a moralizing message about the transience of life; however, Chardin’s canvas moves the register from the allegorical to the everyday. Chardin became famous for miraculous surface effects achieved through rough yet refined paint application, as seen in the central figure’s jacket, locks, forehead, and hands. He made copies of his most successful compositions: later versions of Soap Bubbles belong to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and to the National Gallery of Art, Washington. This painting was seized by the Nazis from Jane Mannheimer in Paris and illegally purchased for the Führer Museum in 1944. It was returned to France by the Service Français de la Récupération following an agreement with the Netherlands Art Property Foundation and was restituted in or after 1948.

#5012. Soap Bubbles, Part 1



  1. 5012. Soap Bubbles, Part 1
  2. 5008. Soap Bubbles, Part 2
Soap Bubbles, Jean Siméon Chardin (French, Paris 1699–1779 Paris), Oil on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.