Still Life with Silver

Alexandre François Desportes French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 629

If Jean Siméon Chardin explored humble still life, artists like Desportes, who worked for Louis XIV and Louis XV, continued the tradition’s most opulent vein. This painting replicates the ostentatious display of actual dining room buffets of symmetrically arranged objects that attested to their owner’s buying power and global reach. This example includes heavily wrought and gilded silver trays and ewers, Japanese Kakiemon and Imari porcelain bowls, and mounted vessels of jasper and agate. Stylistically, the dates of most of the objects depicted are slightly earlier than the painting, perhaps a function of the fact that by the 1720s the dining rooms of many newly built Parisian residences incorporated not actual buffets but vibrant canvases such as this.

Still Life with Silver, Alexandre François Desportes (French, Champigneulle 1661–1743 Paris), Oil on canvas

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