Museums and Art

“Caring nanny”, Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin - description of the painting

“Caring nanny”, Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin - description of the painting

Caring nanny - Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin. Oil on Canvas, 46.2 x 37 cm

The family life of the French painter Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin can not be called cloudless. Left alone with his son, he married a second time and in a new marriage a daughter will be born, who will also live very little. The son, the pride of his father, a young artist, will disappear without a message, setting off on a trip to Italy. Not a bright fate was in Chardin. But, despite all this, his “family painting” was never overshadowed by a raid of tragedy or even sadness. These "genre scenes" (as Chardin called his paintings) are full of warmth and lyricism.

The painting "Caring Nanny" is dedicated to the usual chores of the servant who is looking after the child. This is a middle-aged woman waiting for her pupil for breakfast. There is a jug on the table, bread is lying, and the heroine in a prim cap carefully and gently cleans the egg to put it in a plate.

The decor of the room tells us that this is not the richest family. There is a saucepan on the floor by the table and it can be assumed that the nanny combines several functions of a servant - not only looks after the child, but is also a cook.

Artists of another warehouse could create a tragedy out of this scene, emphasizing poverty and the ugliness of domestic life. Chardin, a native of not the highest layers of society (born in a family of hereditary artisans), saw this as simplicity and soulfulness in all that was dear to his heart. No drama. That is why the viewer perceives the picture with warmth and admiration.

The master’s dark palette is based on brown and black colors - Chardin's very favorite color, a light set of shades focuses on white, beige, pale pink, bluish. The subtlest sense of color makes the work very expressive and attractive.

The "singer of everyday life" is rightly called Chardin today. Diderot himself noticed that no one can reproduce the truth so realistically. But the truth is this very kind and bright, which is a rather rare case for artists of the highest level, which was Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin.


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