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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

French, 1699 - 1779
Still Life with Leg of Lamb
Oil on canvas

15 3/4 x 12 13/16 inches

Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston
Arts of Europe

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin began his career as a painter of still lifes, and Still Life with Leg of Lamb is one of his earliest paintings of humble kitchen objects. Although he also specialized in scenes from everyday life, Chardin continued to paint still lifes to the end of his career.

Here, Chardin imparts a sense of dignity—which his contemporaries typically reserved for seemingly more-worthy subjects—to everyday kitchen items. The harmonious relationship between a few simple objects or figures brings a sense of tranquility to all of Chardin's work. To the students who came to him for advice, Chardin responded: "Sirs, sirs, gentleness!"