10/8/15

The Daily Greuze

This is what dinner usually looks like on a weeknight:
Your eyes aren't deceiving you - that is Eloise putting food in her mouth (whether or not she swallows it is another matter), and yes, that is 6 children. Two or three nights a week I feed the neighbor children, who ask me to feed them because "all the stuff in our fridge is rotten," or "there is nothing to eat at my house."
This evening's meal benediction was given by one of those neighbor children, who hasn't said a prayer out loud ever. Of course this Chardin (1740) painting came to mind, especially as I have just seen a version of it in person at the Hermitage.
Mealtime is messy and noisy, but so full of life. I don't necessarily enjoy the demands and commotion, but I do love the feeling of fullness. Enjoying food and nourishing the body communally is a joy, and I enjoy our mealtimes despite the madness.
I have always found genre paintings fairly dull and unremarkable, now the irony is that so much of my life has become a genre painting.
Genre paintings may still be dull, but I have a whole new respect for the fullness and life they represent. Its an underrated art.

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  2. I love this post! Sometimes I appreciate seemingly ordinary moments my life better if I can think of how they relate to something in a painting or sculpture. But if only I could wear more exciting period clothing, like those dresses in the last painting (by Gerard?)! Alas!

    Just the other week I heard a curator say that the Impressionists were the "Instagrammers" of their day, and it made me think about Instagram and digital photography in a more appreciative light. I don't think it's a perfect comparison, but I do think it is apt when considering how the Impressionists wanted to capture daily life.

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