Jean-Siméon Chardin

The Governess

1739
This is a pair to the artist’s canvas Return from the Market. Both explore domestic life, Chardin’s speciality. The governess stops in mid-action to engage with her charge. She admonishes him; he appears embarrassed. The artist delicately captures their interaction, marked by difference in status, gender and age. Chardin’s sensitive observation gives the commonplace scene profundity, making it an exemplary image of education. We can also take pleasure in the subtle beauty of the painting, its careful depiction of this little world. This combination of humanity and artfulness won Chardin fame.
Title
The Governess
Date
1739
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
46.7 x 37.5 cm
Nationality
French
Credit line
Purchased 1956
Accession number
6432

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