Saturday in the Museum with Jean-Baptiste-Siméon

Image: Basket of  Wild Strawberries (c. 1760), oil on canvas. Private collection.

Today we return to our series working through the history of still life paintings.  During the week this site is a dining guide for Washington, D.C.  On Saturdays we like to focus on a piece of art, usually one that has ties to food or Washington.  Today we move from the 17th century to the 18th with Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin.

This work also matches the season, as fresh strawberries reach the end of their run in the farmers markets.  This painting is not actually in a museum, but it was featured in an exhibit of Chardin’s work at the Prado in 2011.

Chardin’s work went through phases.  He was accepted into the Royal Academy in 1728  in the lesser category of painter “in the skill of animals and fruit.”  He then moved to “genre paintings” of everyday life.  These pictures capture what he meant when he said, “I make use of colours but I paint with sentiment.”  Later in life he returned to still lifes, and the painting above is from this era.


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