Chardin by Pierre Rosenberg
In the summer of 1998 I picked up an interesting book while traveling, “How Proust Can Change Your Life”. At the time, I was in the middle of getting a Master’s in Architecture degree and had no idea that in a little over ten years I would chuck that career away to focus solely on creating fine art.
However in all that time, I never forgot the chapter “How to Open Your Eyes” in this book about Proust. In this chapter Alain de Botton identifies an essay started by Proust where Proust uses the art of Chardin as a foil that shakes his protagonist out of despondency with his life by opening his eyes and encouraging him to take a second look, thus finding beauty and a level of happiness in his life.
At the time (1998) I had minimal understanding of the art of still life. Though since taking my first oil painting class in 2006, I have embraced the art of the still life and how it enhances my perception of the world.
So I think it is only natural to share this monograph of Chardin as a “favorite art book”. It really is a piece de resistance, when it comes to sharing all that is special and great about the simple middle-class scenes Chardin depicted in the 18th Century.
There is an interesting essay at the beginning of the book that shows some photos of the still-life objects depicted in Chardin’s paintings. I especially love seeing this because I am always interested in how other artists depict and maybe simplify decorative pieces.
The color plates are good in size and clear.
Most every painting has a nice long description.
Really, this is a great book to keep in your library if you are interested in still life and the art of enhancing the beauty found in simple things.