In Good Company

My sketch from the Louvre including Chardin's dog from "The Buffet"

Going to an art museum can be like going to a party with an inordinate amount of guests; all of whom you feel you should meet.  Best bet seems often to find two or three individuals and concentrate on getting to know them better rather than skimming the surface of the entire crowd.

Two summers ago while at the Louvre I sat and spent time with two works, a Fra Angelico crucifixion and a Chardin piece called “The Buffet” – I actually blogged about this particular sketch this past August 3rd.  From “The Buffet” where a dog curiously looks at a parrot that is taunting it over a banquet of food.  I drew the dog.

I bring it up again here because as of late in reading a small Chardin biography I found out an interesting fact.  When I entered the room in the Louvre with Chardin’s work I scanned the walls and found “The Buffet” for some reason very engaging; it seems I haven’t bee the only one.

Apparently the work was studied by a number of artists in the 19th century.  Philippe Rousseau ‘spent many dejected hours under the spell of this picture, despairing already the lack of success of any imitations of it.’ Cezanne, Van Gogh and later Matisse would also copy the work.

"The Buffet" by Chardin, dated from 1728; the Louvre

As Helene Prigent and Pierre Rosenberg wrote, “They (Cezanne, Van Gogh and Matisse) were attracted not so much by the subject matter or by any particular technique as by his evident relish of painting itself, in all its glorious variety.  That a painting could succeed without the need for a pretext, a story or underlying idea, that it could render with wonderful precision not only the physical reality of things but also the intensity of our emotional relationship with them, that was the truth so subtly revealed by Chardin.”

I concur wholeheartedly and felt an odd twinge knowing that I have been in the footsteps of some pretty extraordinary artists who have also been drawn to this work. Good company indeed.

About abiggerworldyet

Visual Artist Brother Sojourner College Professor Christ follower
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