Jean Simeon Chardin started as a painter of still life. Around 1733 he switched over to portrait. His portraits are renown for their psychological intensity; and we could say that their stillness is the stillness of a still life. As for the quiet drama behind each composition, it could probably be traced to the following anecdote. Joseph Aved was upset about how little he got paid for his portraits. Chardin, trying to be consolatory, said that when Aved got a little more famous, he would certainly be able to earn a lot more. “I wouldn’t fuss about it as much,” answered Aved, ” if a portrait were as easy to paint as sausage.” From there on Chardin stopped painting still life and switched over to portrait.
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