Friday, April 16, 2010

More Chardin

I'd rather ignore the dishes in my kitchen in order to look at a few more of Chardin's. Above is A Glass of Water and a Coffee Pot. (c. 1760)

I didn't know that Proust loved Chardin, too, but now I see why that should not be surprising.

"You have already experienced it subconciously," (Proust) wrote, "this pleasure one gets from the sight of everyday scenes and inanimate objects, otherwise it would not have risen in your heard when Chardin summoned it in his ringing commanding accents." (p. 215)

As Michael Kimmelman puts it in The Accidental Masterpiece, Chardin's style was "extravagant understatement."

Over and over Chardin returned to pots, pans, onions, and eggs, finding something lovely and harmonious in the simple, homey objects. "The art historian Michael Baxandall has pointed out how, by causing viewers to linger over his various little objects, Chardin was subtly devising works that have multiple points of focus, and thereby expressing contemporaneous theories about how we do not take in complex space all at once but instead piece together the accumulated perception of different colors and shapes." (p. 218) Here's Still Life with Jar of Olives.

What do you think? Does this make sense?

1 comment:

  1. Makes all the sense in the world to me. I love the Kimmelman description of "extravagant understatement". And Proust's idea of Chardin summoning in ringing commanding accents the pleasure that can be found in inanimate objects. Given that for Proust, inanimate objects were the repositories of lost time, the things that lost time is locked into and trapped in until freed by poetic memory, I can certainly see why he would love Chardin.