Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was a French painter from the 18th-century. He is often regarded as a master of still-life painting, while also being remembered for his genre paintings depicting children, kitchen maids, and ordinary domestic activities, such as Girl Peeling Vegetables, Lady Taking Tea, and Return from the Market.
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon was born in November 1699, in Paris. He was an apprentice of the history painters Noël-Nicolas Coypel and Pierre-Jacques Cazes, and with only 25 years, a master at the Académie de Saint-Luc. The first time his work has been noticed was in 1720, with a painting exhibited on the Place Dauphine, at a “small Corpus Christi,” it was very arduous for unknown artists to achieve recognition in this period.
In 1728 he was admitted by the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, after presenting his painting, The Ray. He made a living through some frescoes restorations and painting many genres for any price suggested by the customer.
From 1737 on, Chardin exhibited at the Paris Salon regularly, as well as proving to be a dedicated and respected academician, serving as a counselor, secretary, treasurer, and overseer of the installation of the Salon in 1761.
His popularity severely grew through reproductions of his “genre paintings” through engravings, as well as helping him financially, through the equivalent of royalties today. In 1752, Chardin was awarded a pension of 500 livres by King Louis XV.
In 1759, Chardin exhibited nine paintings at the Salon; it was the first of the Salon iteration commented by Denis Diderot, the distinguished French philosopher, writer, and art critic, known as one of the creators of the Enciclopédie. Diderot soon would be a keen admirer and a strong champion of Chardin’s artwork.
By the year 1770, Chardin’s was very fashionable. He became the Premier peintre du Roi, or the King’s prime painter, also receiving a substantial pension from the Academy, which was the highest in the institution.
Chardin’s son, who was also a painter, died in 1772, he drowned in Venice upon a probable suicide.
Chardin’s last known oil painting dates from 1776, and his final participation at the Salon was in 1779 when he exhibited several pastel studies. He became severely ill later that year.
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin died at the age of 80 in Paris, on December 6, 1779.