Thursday, June 26, 2014


Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1699-1799)
L'enfant au Toton-1738
Oil on canvas 67 x 76 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris RF 1705
Jean-Étienne Liotard (Swiss, 1702-89)
La Belle Chocolatière, 1743-44
Pastel on parchment  82.5 x 52.5 cm
Gemäldegalerie Alter Meister, Dresden
A boy is spinning a top.  
A young woman is carrying a tray with hot chocolate and a glass of water.
Both are completely absorbed in their activities.
Do you think they notice us?
Has the boy already done his homework?
Is this his real hair or a wig?
Chardin took months to make a painting.  He carefully "composed" his pictures and left nothing to chance.  He had to decide where to place the things on the desk and how far to open the drawer.  He looked for the best spot where the boy would sit in front of the stripy wall covering.
The boy has a sensitive face.  He is fascinated, do you feel his full attention?  For how long will the top spin?
The Chocolate Girl is steadily looking ahead.   She concentrates, so the hot chocolate won't spill.
Find the reflections of a window.
How many different shades of grey and white do you see?
Can you spot the grain of the wood planks?
Take a close look at the hand behind the water glass.
Zoom in and you will see every tiny hair and the intricate lace of her cap.
These pictures were done around the same time as Tiepolo's lavish Banquet of Cleopatra (Old Masters Rock, 5/12/2014).
Chardin and Liotard chose simple settings and few colors.  Their pictures feel more "modern".  They were inspired by Dutch painters like Vermeer and Rembrandt (Old Masters Rock, 5/6/2014).
Both pictures are Genre paintings.  They depict scenes from every day life.
Pastel chalks are made of pure pigment bound by gum or resin.
You can paint fast with pastels colors.  They don't have to dry like oil paints. 
What would happen if you applied many layers of pastel on top of each other?
Parchment is made of animal skins.

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