Until the 30th of January 2011 – Palazzo dei Diamanti
Chardin played a leading role in one of the most interesting periods of European art history, becoming one of the truly influential artists for modern and contemporary masters. While admired by many, it was Van Gogh who described him “as great as Rembrandt.” While Eighteenth Century France was busily engrossed in the luxurious life of the court and its fêtes galantes, fashioning a lifestyle from the ephemeral, Jean Siméon Chardin (1699-1779) was describing another reality. A contemplative and careful painter, he created the least “Parisian” canvases of century by painting silence: a silence which pervaded both his still lifes, picturing common domestic utensils arranged on rustic tables, and his interiors, in which the domestic servants and the offspring of the French bourgeois are shown thoughtfully going about their daily activities. While Chardin rejected the ornamental, his pictures are nonetheless sophisticated in quality; poems of daily life, a means of exalting the mannerisms of common people and thereby transforming them into the great protagonists of their era.