Museums and Art

"Scat", Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin - description of the painting


Scat - Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin. Oil on canvas 115 x 146 cm

Canvases by Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin are distinguished by a special aesthetics. The sublime plots of mythology or literature were alien to him - Charden wholeheartedly loved still lifes, which at that time were attributed to “low” genres as opposed to portraits and historical scenes. Masters admired simple things surrounding objects. Moreover, even the most unsightly things he got somehow smoothed, if not beautifully. A perfect example of this is the painting “Scat”, which Chardin presented in the central square in Paris in 1728 as part of the Youth Exhibition.

Charden "unfolded" a still life - before him the horizontal arrangement was typical only for paintings of the "high genre". With this simple trick, Jean Baptiste hints to his viewer that a still life may relate to elite art.

A wide table with various kitchen utensils, a cat sneaking toward fish and, oh, horror, a gutted slope that hangs on the wall ... A pile of objects looks careless and ordinary, but it is a carefully thought out and verified composition. A flat image of elements emphasizes the naturalness and ease of the plot. The color of the picture is focused on a greenish palette and enriched with subtle color transitions.

Naturalness and extreme realism are initially discouraging (especially since the picture was created at the beginning of the 18th century), but when you look closely, you find that this naturalism is ennobled, smoothed out. Outstanding spectators of Chardin (Proust, Cezanne, Didro) awarded a stingray with a wide open belly with such epithets as “terrible monster”, “vile thing”, “strange creature”, but at the same time they unanimously admired the canvas and noted a fine line separating the ugliness from beauty. Chardin sang the last.