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Dog and Game

Dog and Game, 1730

Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin
French, 1699-1779
Oil on canvas
75-3/4 x 54-3/4 in. (192.4 x 139.1 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Chardin, one of the great still-life painters of the 18th century, did not follow the traditional career path of his peers. He never attended the French Académie or traveled to Italy to ”finish” his artistic education. Nevertheless, thanks in part to the support of fellow painter Nicolas de Largillière, Chardin was elected to the Royal Academy in 1728 and enjoyed considerable success.

In this early hunting piece, Chardin situates the dog in the immediate foreground, standing guard over the day’s catch. The animal’s gaze, protective stance and bright coloring communicate its alertness. Its pose sharply contrasts with stilled arrangement of the day’s take described in tones of brown, orange and gold and arranged around the gun and the hunting horn. Chardin depicted the fur and feathers of the game and fowl using an active brushwork laid down in short bursts and strokes. This technique imparts vibrancy to the surface of the canvas and to the objects depicted. Indeed, Chardin makes us aware of the tension between painting as a technique and painting in the service of imitation.

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