Diderot called Chardin a ‘great magician’ in 1765 for his ability to make everyday objects ‘speak.’ Whether it was delicious looking olives or a disgusting fish, a still life or genre scene, Chardin used his brush to such effect that Diderot claimed it to be loaded not with pigment but ‘the very substance of objects.’ In this study day we will explore how this naturalism related to the 18th century art world with its salons, critics and theorists.

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