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Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (November 2, 1699 - December 6, 1779) is considered by some to be the greatest of the 18th-century French painters. He is known for his beautifully textured still lifes as well as his sensitive and touching genre paintings. He was born, lived and died in Paris. Simple, even stark, but treasured paintings of common household items (Still Life with a Smoker's Box) and an uncanny ability to portray children's innocence in a nonsentimental manner (Boy with a Top) makes his paintings universal across time.

He was the son of a cabinetmaker, and though largely self-taught, he was greatly influenced by the realism and subject matter of the 17th-century Low Country masters. His early support came from patrons in the French aristocracy, including Louis XV, despite his unconventional portrayal of the then-rising bourgeoisie. He was admitted to the Royal Academy in 1728. Today his paintings hang in the Louvre and other major museums. His work became popular with the general public after low-cost engravings of his paintings became available. At the end of his life he began working in pastel crayons.

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