November 9, 2010

forget everything

An account of Chardin's conversion:

"One of the first things he did was a rabbit. This object may seem of slight importance; but the manner in which he wanted to do it made it a serious study. He wanted to depict it with the greatest truthfulness in all respects, but at the same time tastefully, with no overtones of servitude that might make its execution dry and cold. 

He had never attempted to paint fur before. He realized that he should not paint it hair by hair, or reproduce it in detail. 'Here is an object which I must aim to reproduce', he said to himself. 'In order to concentrate on reproducing it faithfully I must forget everything I have seen, and even forget the way such objects have been treated by others. I must place it at such a distance that I cannot see the details. I must work at representing the general mass as accurately as possible, the shades and colors, the contours, the effects of light and shade.'"

from, "Chardin: The Unknowing Subversive?" by Pierre Rosenberg

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