Refreshment on a Summer Afternoon

Basket of Wild Strawberries

One would be lucky to find oneself with Chardin’s bowl of strawberries one hot summer day washed down simple water. Nothing pretentious here–just a glorious warm red, and earthy immediacy, and a beautifully painted piece of carefully rendered depths. It looks as if you could reach in and pick one.

The quality of Chardin’s naturalistic painting in the 17th-century Dutch tradition was exceptional and his success as a painter of animals, birds, and fruit was immediate. The critic Diderot wrote in 1767, “One pauses instinctively in front of a Chardin like a weary traveler who sits down . . . in a grassy spot that offers silence, water, shade, and a cooling breeze.” I agree. 

May your long last weekend of summer be full of wild strawberries.

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