The Ray (1728) by Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin

The Ray - Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin - 1728

Artwork Information

TitleThe Ray
ArtistJean Baptiste Simeon Chardin
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions146 x 114 cm
Art MovementRococo
Current LocationLouvre, Paris, France

About The Ray

The artwork, titled “The Ray,” was created by Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin in 1728. It is an oil on canvas painting that falls within the Rococo art movement. The still life measures 146 by 114 centimeters and is currently housed in the Louvre in Paris, France.

“The Ray” by Chardin is a masterful still life that captures not only the beauty and detail of everyday objects but also conveys a certain depth and narrative. The composition centers around a skinned ray fish, its flesh exposed and hanging from a hook, creating an arresting and somewhat gruesome focal point. To the left, a cat crouches with widened eyes, perhaps intrigued by the fish or the smaller sea creatures scattered on the table below. Various kitchen utensils, a stone jug, a crumpled white cloth, and an overturned basket suggest recently completed or interrupted meal preparations. The dark, subdued palette and the masterful depiction of textures—from the gleaming surfaces of the ceramics to the soft filaments of the ray’s flesh—showcase Chardin’s ability to invoke the tactile and the real. The artwork is a fine example of Chardin’s talent for elevating the genre of still life to a reflection on the natural world and the simplicity of domestic scenes.

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