Arab Today, arab today chardin’s boy buikling house of cards
Last Updated : GMT 23:52:36
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Chardin’s Boy Buikling House of Cards

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Chardin’s Boy Buikling House of Cards

Washington - Arabstoday

A solemn little boy is shown in profile leaning over a card table, absorbed in the delicate art of placing a playing card flat on top of four upright cards that form the walls of his fragile construction. He is oblivious to the world around him. Although his mind is fully occupied, he cannot be said to be thinking. He works in silence, unaware that we are watching him and therefore at his most natural, most vulnerable. Painted in 1735, the first version of Jean-Simon Chardin’s Boy Building a House of Cards was acquired by the Rothschild Family Trust in 2007. It is now the centrepiece of a small but near-perfect exhibition at Waddesdon Manor, where it hangs alongside three slightly later variants of the composition on loan from the National Galleries of London and Washington and from the Louvre. To move among four treatments of the same subject is to become absorbed in Chardin’s pictorial world, to enter into his creative process. The difference between the textures of a rough and a finely woven fabric; the appearance of a five-year-old boy as opposed to one of seven; whether or not a child’s hair has been dressed and powdered – nuances such as these can change a picture’s mood or meaning. In the Rothschild version, the boy is wearing an apron, indicating that he is a servant or apprentice. The playing cards, coins, and gambling counters scattered on the table indicate that a game of cards has finished. Sent to clear up after the adults, the boy instead allows himself to be distracted by his game. Though a dawdler, he’s still too young and innocent to be tempted by the coins that he could easily pocket. Any representation of a house of cards in art symbolises the fragility of life, and prints after the Boy Building a House of Cards contain moralising inscriptions telling us not to mock the foolish pastime, for we too build castles in the air. But these inscriptions are not the work of Chardin. I see no narrative, no symbolism, and no overtly political or sacred content in this picture. In fact, Chardin goes to enormous trouble to divest it of such extraneous values. This single-minded focus on purely visual problems is what made him such a hero to Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso and Jasper Johns. For the essence of his art is to allow each of us to bring our own thoughts and feelings to the scene. His pictures aspire to a condition of emotional neutrality. There could be no better example than this painting, in which Chardin set out to paint something that artists usually do their best to avoid – an expressionless human face. French academic theory as formulated in the 17th century held that the distinction between high art and mechanical representation is the artist’s ability to convey emotions through facial expression. But in Chardin’s picture the boy’s emotional responses, like his thoughts, are temporarily on hold. Likewise, the soft light from the window at the left circulates around the objects in the room without bringing any one object into more prominence. This is why I have always been puzzled by one detail: the swag of curtain with a golden tassel in the foreground at the left. This seems to come from a different moral universe from the one we encounter in Chardin’s pictures – the world of pomp that you find in baroque portraiture or religious painting. Since it does not appear in any of his later treatments of the subject, what is its function here? My answer is that it is used to draw our attention to the picture plane closest to the viewer. Chardin draws our eye into pictorial depth via a succession of receding planes, beginning with the open drawer just behind the curtain and continuing with the eye-catching playing card that he uses as a bridge from the front of the drawer to the table surface. In this first attempt at the subject, Chardin used the swag of cloth to help him work through a particular formal problem. Once he had resolved that problem, it was no longer necessary. Chardin hit on one of the few figure subjects involving children in which the absence of movement or expression would look completely natural. You could almost describe Boy Building a House of Cards as a human still life. Look at how the geometry of the picture (the vertical wall at the left, the horizontal table edge in the foreground, the diagonal created by the boy’s back) rhymes with the careful construction of horizontal, vertical and diagonal shapes that the boy is making with the cards. And notice that both the house of cards and the table are slightly angled so that they are out of alignment with the picture plane: the composition is precisely mirrored in the house of cards because Chardin saw painting as a craft requiring the same manual dexterity and mental focus as the boy needs to make his house of cards stand up. Chardin is a painter of the Enlightenment: he was not like Cézanne, working out aesthetic and intellectual problems as ends in themselves. One of the most enchanting pictures in this show is a portrait of the son of a close friend; others were painted as pendants to already existing pictures. It looks to me as though Chardin solved practical problems as they arose. 

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today chardin’s boy buikling house of cards Arab Today, arab today chardin’s boy buikling house of cards

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordan airline suggests flyers 'talk'

GMT 11:59 2017 Friday ,24 March

Jordan airline suggests flyers 'talk'
Arab Today, arab today 5 Crafty Must-Have Limited-Budget Ideas

GMT 17:03 2017 Saturday ,25 March

5 Crafty Must-Have Limited-Budget Ideas
Arab Today, arab today Dozens dead in US-led Syria strikes

GMT 08:35 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Dozens dead in US-led Syria strikes
Arab Today, arab today Former head of Egypt’s syndicate submits appeal

GMT 20:11 2017 Saturday ,25 March

Former head of Egypt’s syndicate submits appeal
View News in Arabic - Culture: أخبار الثقافة والفنون
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Yemen children dream of school

GMT 07:25 2017 Friday ,24 March

Yemen children dream of school
Arab Today, arab today MP submits a petition to dismiss university head

GMT 06:21 2017 Friday ,24 March

MP submits a petition to dismiss university head
Arab Today, arab today Salvage of South Korea's Sewol ferry

GMT 04:51 2017 Friday ,24 March

Salvage of South Korea's Sewol ferry
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful

GMT 13:38 2017 Monday ,06 March

Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful
Arab Today, arab today Audi RS 5 Coupe acquires new design

GMT 13:22 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Audi RS 5 Coupe acquires new design
Arab Today, arab today Renault Trezor wins design award

GMT 11:56 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Renault Trezor wins design award
Arab Today, arab today Haifa Wahby bets on her new drama show

GMT 06:04 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Haifa Wahby bets on her new drama show
Arab Today, arab today 2017 already marked

GMT 15:25 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

2017 already marked

GMT 07:03 2017 Wednesday ,22 March

Merna Waleed praises her work with Soad Hosni

GMT 22:00 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Number of unwedded girls amounts to 2.5m

GMT 18:57 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Accessories designer reveals her new collection

GMT 10:34 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Mexico threatens to ditch US corn imports

GMT 13:26 2017 Friday ,24 February

Expresses Algerian history by woody figures

GMT 15:06 2017 Saturday ,25 March

Dialysis Supplies Dwindle for Syrians

GMT 07:36 2017 Wednesday ,22 March

US, Britain ban laptops on flights

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 19:27 2017 Saturday ,11 March

Boualsof launches "Priestess Kahina" collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday