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Still life with attributes of the arts

Painting, 1766, 112×140.5 cm

Description of the artwork «Still life with attributes of the arts»

"Still life with attributes of art" written by J. B. S. Chardin commissioned by the Russian Empress Catherine II. On a functional purpose it dessy-de-port (FR. dessus de porte – "over the door") is a graphic panel located above the doorway. "Still life..." was to decorate a conference hall construction of the St. Petersburg Academy of arts, but so pleased the Empress that was left in her personal collection in the Hermitage.

"Still life with attributes of the arts": the allegorical sense and realistic details

"Still life..." is conceived as important to the Enlightenment, allegory of harmonious Union of the main types of plastic arts. Palette with brushes and wooden crates to symbolize the colors of the painting; copper vessel with stamped decoration and a statue of the Roman God mercury, patron of arts and crafts – sculpture, carelessly thrown drawings, paper scrolls and drawing set with drawing supplies architecture. Books should highlight the idea of Enlightenment and perhaps to hint at an important time for your imperative: the artist must be well educated.

The realistic component is not less important than the allegorical. Still life rarely makes the autobiographical genre, but "still life with attributes of the arts" it is biographical and it is vitally reliable. So, the statue of mercury by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, located in the center of the composition, was actually the property of Chardin (she appears in the census of things the posthumous painter). The order in the form of a cross on a black satin ribbon and medals lying around in random order, the real awards received Chardin throughout life. J. B. S. Chardin, therefore, admits us into the inner sanctum – a private art Studio, establishing an atmosphere of trust between the artist and the viewer.

Composition and artistic merit "still life..."

As in most still lifes of J.-B. S. Chardin, the composition of "still life with attributes of the arts" deployed horizontally. The placement of objects rhythmically and carefully thought out, there are no random things – only those that are designed to help man in his creative activity. Apparently, the highest rank of the customer works forced Chardin to write "still life..." in a slightly more festive and decorative manner than is characteristic of the artist. The effect of soft, diffused light is reconstructed by the low-key, but rich in subtle reflections and subtle hues of the palette. Transmission Chardin texture of different surfaces (cold smoothness of the plaster, light roughness flattened paper) are so brilliant that give rise to the viewer the illusion of haptic touch. Chardin has rightly been called a poet: a life of things on his canvas is natural and beautiful.

The disappearance and the return of "still life with attributes of the arts"

In 1854, the year in the Hermitage there was unprecedented event – the auction of paintings that Nicholas I the only one explanation he felt unworthy to take a seat in the Imperial Assembly. A number of wonderful paintings went to private collections. "Still life with attributes of the arts" were also sold into unknown hands. Almost 70 years he completely disappeared out of sight of the critics, despite the fact that the members of the Hermitage staff did not stop trying to find him. Considerably damaged, the painting was discovered in 1923, the year the warehouses of St. Petersburg "of the Commission for the suppression of luxury." After the restoration "still life..." Chardin once again took pride of place in the Hermitage.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Still life

Style of art: Rococo

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1766

Size: 112×140.5 cm

Artwork in selections: 16 selections