WHAT the painters, Watteau, Nattier, Boucher, Fragonard, did in commemoration of the court life of their century, Chardin did for the life of that lower class which was its undercurrent. Virtually in that station into which he had been born, he lived and worked and died. In his still-lifes he has imbued the simplest and most homely objects with arresting dignity, endowing them with a warmth that was of his own kindly, generous, and simple nature. Portraits, his still-lifes might be called, of people.
And in his genre pictures he has granted to the humble people of his own class a greater dignity than to the great of France their own appointed painters would concede. And on what Chardin saw and felt--on what Chardin himself through the simple integrity of his own nature was--the final happiness of social man depends.
The Grace, 1740
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