Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin
Self Portrait at the Easel, 1771,
pastel on blue paper over canvas stretcher,
Musée du Louvre, Paris
to the Brittanica,
Jean- Baptiste Simeon Chardin-
Grace at Table (also called Benediction)
|Form: Chardin's paintings
differ from those of his Rococo contemporaries in many ways. Chardin's
use of color is closer to the Renaissance painters than the Rococo.
In these paintings he uses a low key earth toned palette. His compositions,
like this one, often deal with interior scenes that are dimly lit.
Still life elements are painted with the same consideration as the figures
and his brushwork is more specific than the Rococo painters of his time.
This is a genre scene in the most Renaissance
and traditional sense and returns in some ways to earlier genre scenes
such as in Robert
Campin's Merode Altarpiece c. 1425. The iconography is
anti-Rococo because the scene deals not with a romantic encounter but with
the moral instruction of two young women. The subject matter is a
middle class or bourgeoisie family in
which either a mother or a governess serve a simple meal. The children,
knowing their place in in the world show they are grateful to God by saying
grace before the meal. Surrounding them are the trappings of a moral
The furniture, toys and clothing are simple but still of good quality.
Context: Chardin's output of quiet domestic scenes in Dutch manner, usually on a small scale but really wasn't ever in great favor with the aristocracy but at times he did enjoy some popularity with the aristocracy because some of the ideas fell into place with Rousseau's ideas of morality and social order in texts such as his Social Contract and Émile.
Émile in particular has bearing on this painting because it is a novel about the education of a little girl named Sophie. Rousseau believed that people were born fundamentally good and if allowed to pursue the natural inclinations this goodness would manifest itself.
Émile, was a rejection of the traditional ideal: education was not seen to be the imparting of all things to be known to the uncouth child; rather it was seen as the “drawing out” of what is already there, the fostering of what is native. Rousseau's educational proposal is highly artificial, the process is carefully timed and controlled, but with the end of allowing the free development of human potential.
Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin.
Soap Bubbles, c1733
oil on canvas, 36 5/8 x 29 3/8 in.
French Baroque but not really Rococo
Jan Vermeer. The Lacemaker 1669-70
Oil on canvas transferred to panel,
23.9 x 20.5 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris
|Form: This painting
uses a low key earth toned palette. The composition of this image
is shallow and somewhat symmetrical although not completely. The
design forces the viewer to focus on the image of the young boy who is
highlighted in a tennebristic manner. Still life elements are painted
with the same consideration as the figures and his brushwork is more specific
than the Rococo painters of his time.
It is possible that this may be an overinterpretation of the iconography
of this image however most historians believe that this is a type of vanitas
or memento mori: "The boy enjoys a pleasurable pursuit as time wastes away,
and the soap bubble itself is a traditional symbol of the fragile, fleeting
nature of human life." http://www.uic.edu/~pbhales/
According to the National Gallery:
"A boy concentrates his full attention on a quivering bubble, which seems ready to slip from his pipe. Eighteenth-century French viewers would have recognized the soap bubble from Dutch and Flemish painting as a symbol of life's fragility and the vanity of worldly pursuits." http://www.nga.gov/collection/Context: Interestingly enough, although most historians ascribe this new moralizing in Chardin's images to Rousseau's philosophies but similar the ideas are also evidenced in works such as Vermeer's The Lacemaker 1669-70. Compare and contrast these two paintings and come up with some conclusions as to how each image is meant to convey a similar message. Look at them both in terms of a formal, iconographic and contextual framework. How and why are they similar and or different.
Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1725-1805 Broken Eggs 1756
French , New York: Metropolitan Museum
|Form: Although painted
during the Rococo period this painting is not very Rococo in its form.
This style of painting probably evolved somewhat from commedia and or some
other types of performances because the composition of the picture plane
is very shallow and stage like. This oil painting uses a low key
earth toned palette.
Iconography: Stokstad discusses the idea that Greuze's paintings are expressions of the new moralizing philosophies expressed by French philosophers such as Diderot, Voltaire and Rousseau.
Here is a young woman who has a basket of eggs that has been broken. The egg is a symbol of life and also of a woman's womb and or virginity. In this case the metaphor is that she has lost her virtue.
The young woman's grandmother or mother stands behind her pointing the accusing finger while her brother looks on in a state of bewilderment. The young boy is a rather Rousseau's interpretation of a young child's reactions. Children will always try to do the right thing and here, the girl's younger brother vainly attempts to put the eggs back together and restore her to her former state.
Context: This image relates very clearly to the plot of various novels and poems of the period such as Moll Flanders in which when a woman loses here virtue she has started down the wrong path and it will lead to her demise. The same ideas are expressed in the prints of William Hogarth in particular his prints entitled Before and After c1736.
bour.geoi.sie n [F, fr. bourgeois] (1707) 1: middle class 2: a social order dominated by bourgeois
genre n [F, fr. MF, kind, gender--more at gender] (1770) 1: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content 2: kind, sort 3: painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usually realistically
petite bourgeoisie n [F, lit., small bourgeoisie] (1916): the lower middle class including esp. small shopkeepers and artisans
Form: Hogarth was more of a printmaker than a painter. He used extensively the process of intaglio and engraving processes discussed in your book. This is important because his work is rather cartoon like and seems to anticipate what modern comic strips and political cartoons will become in the 19th through 21st centuries. Hogarth's work is realistic but it is still stylized in a cartoon like manner. His portraits of everyday people are more caricatures than attempts to capture a realistic or photographic realism.
Context: William Hogarth is a lot like your mother, he wants you to feel guilty all the time. Hogarth started out as a painter who commented on what he perceived as the decay of English society and the realized that he could make more money by selling his images in the form of prints. The creation of prints of Hogarth's images was a revolution for him. Instead of creating one painting that could be sold only once and had to be sold for a large sum of money, he was actually able to make more money by creating prints and selling them for much cheaper prices. He was even able to pre-sell his images by creating subscriptions for the images. Therefore he was also able to reach a much wider audience and this, combined with his cartoonish and satirical images, made his works wildly successful. According to the Brittanica,
The engravings were aimed at a wide public, and their tremendous success immediately established Hogarth's financial and artistic independence. He was henceforth free, unlike most of his colleagues, to follow his own creative inclinations. To safeguard his livelihood from unscrupulously pirated editions, he fought to obtain legislation protecting artist's copyright and held back the eight-part Rake's Progress until a law of that nature, known as the Hogarth Act, was passed in 1735.Hogarth establishes the Copyright Law system in which it could protect an artist intellectual property. It would protect the artist's books, art, or other own ideas. He aided in the proposal to protect his prints with the Copyright Act, due to many unauthorized copies made of his paintings. It was passed by the British Parliament in 1735.
Much of Hogarth's work is influenced by literature, popular culture, and current events. A lot of his imagery has evolved from the novels of the day, theatre, commedia as well as opera. He was actually very close friends with a famous actor named David Garrick.
An killer site all
about Hogarth with timelines, biographies and all the images you could
ever want: http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Gallery/3737/
Beer Street and Gin Lane-(diptych) two images
|In early 1730's there
was an epidemic of alcoholic consumption. Gin was mass produced and started
to replace beer as the main alcoholic drink of choice. The portrait shows
everybody selling their goods in order to get more gin. It shows also that
the KillMan Distiller, the undertaker, and the Pawnshop are doing very
good in their business.
Early 1700's an epidemic. People had to drink distilled spirits because the water was contaminated. A watery thin or "near beer" was the primary beverage. When gin was introduced Hogarth saw this as a corrupting drug. Gin is equivalent to Hogarth as heroine or crack is to ours.
Before and After c1736
This diptych depicts a typical scene in which the morals of good English
society are being eroded. Here is what happens when young woman who
read the wrong kinds of books.
In this image a young maiden has allowed a young suitor into her bedroom who paws at her in "Before." The night table spills over and in the bedside drawer a copy of "Moll Flanders" a rather racy fictional biography. We know that according to Hogarth, it is her fault because she has allowed him in the bedroom and has also inflamed his desire by leaving her underwear hanging from the curtains of her bedstead.
Symbols of her impending deflowering are in ripe abundance throughout. Highlighted by a shaft of light in the background of "Before" we see an image of a cupid about to ignite a toy rocket. The shaft of light has moved, indicating the passage of time in "After" and we see highlighted by the shaft of light we see an image of a cupid snickering over the same spent toy rocket.
The mirror on the nigh table in "Before," a symbol of introspection and of vanity is broken in the second scene like her chastity.
The dog barking in (Before) is trying to defend his master's virtue/honor but the same dog takes a nap in "After" indicating his master's honor cannot be defended anymore
The end results of this unattractive and rather unromantically depicted tryst is further emphasized by the disarray of his wig, the ripped curtains and idiotic look of the young disheveled man who hastily pulls up his pants while the girls begs for a promise of marriage?
Compare this scene to Fragonard's The Meeting, from Love of the Shepherds which describes of a very similar romantic encounter.
Hogarth: Genre Scenes and Moralizing Art in the 1700's
Beer Street and
Gin Lane c1730-
(diptych) two images
Before and After c1736
from Love of the Shepherds
New York,Frick French,
The Harlot's Progress 1731
Scenes and Moralizing Art in the 1700's: 2
The Rakes Progress c1790
|#1- (left) Social
climber Tom Rakewell has just come into his fathers money. His father was
a miser who is now dead. John was educated but learned nothing about the
way the real world works. His dad the miser would hide things. In the picture
he is breaking up with his girlfriend. At the lower left there is a bible.
The leather from the bible was used to resole his father's shoe. Meanwhile
the house accountant is ripping him off but he's too busy to notice.
2 A Visit By Apprentices or Tutors
* He has gain entry into the better half of society. He has been received and is being asked to make donations. In the background there is a painting of The Judgment of Paris.
|Scene #3 The Orgy
* Tom goes off with prostitutes and has an orgy. He is drunk and high on opium. Women/Prostitutes are picking his pockets. Pictures of great philosophers are above his head and looking down on him. A mirror is broken in this scene.
Scene #4 ?
*Tom is in trouble. He's out of reason and out of money. He has been stopped by debtors. His old girlfriend who he dumped earlier bails him out.
|Scene #5 ?
*Tom marries an old crone because he ran out of money. In the slide her kids are also taking her money. Priest in this slide is not moral and is probably being paid large sums of money for marrying them.
*Tom has lost all his wifes money gambling and is on the floor in despair. He has lost his dignity as well and tears the wig from his head. A fire burns unnoticed and out of control in the background which symbolizes his state of mental, moral and financial affairs.
* Tom is in debtor prison. In the background an alchemist attempts to create gold out of base elements which is also a metaphor for Tom's life.
*Tom ends up insane in a mental hospital called "Bedlam."
Scenes and Moralizing Art in the 1700's: 3
The Harlot's Progress
||Arrival in London,
1731. Engraving. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
The first series shows
the "Harlot" that her name is Molly Hackabout , arriving in England. She
is bringing her goose with her. It also shows on the picture an old lady
that looks as if she is telling Molly to enter into the prostitution business.
|The other print shows Molly with a patron who is portrayed as a Jew. This indicates that there were negative stereotypes surrounding Jews living in England. Molly is seducing the Jew, and a monkey is shown in the pictured on the floor. The monkey is an icon that represents a passion or a lust you can't control. It also shows an African peasant boy dressed of like someone from India which is similar in its content to the representation of the Jew.|
||Next portrait shows
Molly that is now older and has is losing her beauty. It shows a letter
that says "a Pastoral letter for my love." A guy is coming with some guards,
looking for his stolen watch.
Molly's face looks rotten from syphilitic sores and because of this she has lost her beauty and the ability to get money, she turns into be a thief. Her life as a prostitute has already finished.
||Now Molly is in the workhouse prison beating hemp fibers, and is in a lot of trouble. She is obviously exhausted and so her friend attempts to flash a little leg to get the prison warden off her back. Benind Molly another inmate picks her pocket and winks at the guard. If she does not work she will be placed in the stocks like the woman behind her. On the stocks it says "Better to work than to stand thus."|
||Next picture shows Molly dead or dying in her chair. It shows people that are there with her and are stealing her money and things.|
||Final scene shows Molly's funeral. It shows people that are using her coffin as a coffee table, and without care that she has died. The preacher looks like if he is a dummy, and is there with a prostitute|