Chardin

Marianne Roland Michel, Author, Marianne R. Michel, Author, Eithne McCarthy, Translator ABRAMS $125 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8109-4041-3
While 18th-century Parisian painter Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin (1699-1779) is often linked to Flemish and Dutch still lifes, French art historian and gallery director Michel views him as quintessentially French in his sensitivity, spirit, coloristic skill and ineffable touch. And where other critics perceive symbolism or concealed messages, she sees only irreplaceable, unique moments, timelessly rendered, as in Soap Bubbles. Although the heavily annotated, dry text will be of interest mainly to scholars, the nearly 300 illustrations (half of them in color, including scores of full-page plates) make this an attractive coffee-table album. It reproduces numerous genre scenes, portraits and domestic interiors (Lady Taking Tea, The Cellar Boy, Game of Knucklebones) from far-flung museums and private collections. Chardin's ironic self-portraits, with their deeply penetrating gaze and air of affable authority, provide perhaps the best key to the mysterious magic of his still, yet vibrant, compositions. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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