Saying Grace (Chardin)

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Hermitage version
Louvre version

Saying Grace or The Prayer Before a Meal (French - Le Bénédicité) is the title of several paintings by Jean Simeon Chardin, showing a middle class French family saying grace before a meal.

Hermitage version[edit]

The only work of this title by Chardin signed and dated in his own hand dates to 1744. It is signed in the bottom left hand corner. Chardin was presented to Louis XV at the Palace of Versailles on 27 November 1740 by Philibert Orry, the king's superintendent of buildings and controller general of finances - Chardin's only meeting with the monarch. This was one of two paintings the artist presented to Louis on that occasion - the Mercure de France reported that the king "received [the paintings] very favourably; these two little works are already well known, having been exhibited at the Salon in the Louvre last August. We mentioned them in the October Mercure, under the title The Laborious Mother and Saying Grace." The work is now in the Hermitage Museum, which it entered between 1763 and 1774 under Catherine II of Russia.

Variants[edit]

The Louvre holds a variant exhibited at the 1740 Paris Salon. There are other variants in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (with a small boy added on the left) and the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.

Bibliography[edit]

  • (in French) Georges Wildenstein, Chardin, Paris, 1921, n°78
  • (in Russian) I. Nemilova, Chardin et ses tableaux à l'Ermitage, Leningrad, 1961
  • (in French) Pierre Rosenberg, Tout l'œuvre peint de Chardin, Paris, Flammarion, 1983