Wealth and Poverty in Two Still Life Paintings

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RIn Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardines’ Painting,Still Life with Kitchen Utensils and Sebastian Stospkopff’s, Still Life with Empty Glasses there are kitchen tables filled with various materials but the styles vary as well as the depiction of class.One painting depicts upper class life, while the other conveys a more humble village family table. In Jean’s painting unlike Sebastian’s,the kitchen table has on it kitchenware that depicts a humble lifestyle . It conveys the life of a commoner or a village family.The painting includes hanging meat, a pan, dirty clothe, onions,celery,a brown bowl, and a black ladle amongst other things all conveyed using brushstrokes. The brown bowl is not made of fine gold,it is simply cheap. The pan is not made of gold or silver,like the basin in the Sebastian painting for instance which is of fine gold in appearance.In contrast,Sebastian’s painting,along with the golden basin at the far left,includes silver and gold cups stacked atop one another and a bronze basin in the middle holding a silver object. This painting also contrasts from Jean’s painting in that it leaves no hint of brushstroke anywhere on the painting.The objects within Sebastian’s painting portray the life of a wealthy nobleman,with his cup overflowing with richness he delights in showing off his wealth by displaying cups and various objects made with fine metals of bronze, gold,and silver. Referring back to the fact that this painting contains not a hint of brushstroke, this insures a sense of reality. The painting looks so real it is as if the table and objects depicted within the painting are a part of the household in which the painting is hung.But all who see Jean’s painting can clearly recognize that the painting represents not r...

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...epth perception, and clear lines make Sebastians Still Life with Glasses seem real. Brushstrokes, unclear lines on the table, and distance not visible to the viewer but symbolic, make Jeans’ Still Life with Kitchen Utensils more of a work of art, than a depiction of what is real.Jean portrays a table in a house of a commoner and Sebastian, a table in the house of the wealthy. The viewer of both of these paintings, is himself of nobility. On the one hand he sees this lush kitchen table of Sebastians’ and relishes in his own wealth, but on the other, he seems separated from the poverty of Jeans table. The wealthy man has the grapes, but not the onions, not the wisdom of the poor that leads them to seek virtuous things rather than material objects.He is inevitably separated from both the pain of poverty, and the wisdom of the righteous not self seeking but humble man.

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