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Part of European Paintings
Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, Tournus 1725–1805 Paris)
Date: 1756Accession Number: 20.155.8
Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, Grasse 1732–1806 Paris)
Date: early 1770sAccession Number: 49.7.49
Jean Siméon Chardin (French, Paris 1699–1779 Paris)
Date: ca. 1733–34Accession Number: 49.24
Date: ca. 1728Accession Number: 59.9
Jean Marc Nattier (French, Paris 1685–1766 Paris)
Date: 1749Accession Number: 45.172
Date: ca. 1767–69Accession Number: 1970.295
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In France, from 1648 through the eighteenth century, a painter's training was strictly controlled by the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which was initially sponsored by Louis XIV. Until 1791, only fully qualified academicians and candidates for that status could show in the Salons—the first public exhibitions. Historical, religious, and mythological subjects were favored above all others: a history painter's knowledge of the past, and capacity to interpret it, were thought to confer nobility on the practice of painting, separating the artist from the artisan. Portraits served the essential function of glorifying the monarch and were also commissioned by politicians, society and literary figures, and dancers and singers of the demimonde. Jean Siméon Chardin was a singular exception. A staunch academician, he nonetheless specialized in still lifes and modest interiors, to which he brought compositional rigor and breathtaking naturalism.
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