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Dog and Game

Dog and Game, 1730

Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin
French, 1699-1779
Oil on canvas
75-3/4 x 54-3/4 in. (192.4 x 139.1 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Chardin, one of the great still-life painters of the 18th century, did not follow the traditional career path of his peers. He never trained at the French Academy or traveled to Italy to study the works of the Old Masters. Nevertheless, thanks in part to the support of fellow painter Nicolas de Largillière, Chardin was elected to the French Academy in 1728 and enjoyed considerable success.

In this painting, a hunter’s dog—likely an English pointer—guards the day’s catch. Poised to react, the dog gazes intently beyond the painting’s left edge. The alertness of its rigid pose is offset by the limp, lifeless bodies of the birds and rabbits. Intense lighting further dramatizes the scene, as the dog’s bright coat stands out sharply against the shadowy background. By introducing these elements of contrast, Chardin elevates a still-life subject into a nuanced moment, charged with suspense.

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