There is not a huge amount of information available on this specific painting, and so we must analyse it ourselves with the larger photograph below, as well as study his salon contributions of 1761 more generally. We can see several cups and saucers, decorated with some bright tones which help lift the overall piece. The cup nearer us has a silver spoon inside it which reflects the light just a little. There is then a large jar of apricots which remain sealed. The jar is half full and the seal appears to have been broken previously, suggesting that the artist himself had enjoyed the missing apricots. The purple tones continue closely with his red wine to the left hand side, alongside two other smaller, empty glasses. An orange is in the foreground, along with some slices of bread and a knife. He again chooses to balance the knife over the table edge in order to create a small shadow.

To the right we will find a wrapped gift, and some other items. Both the nearest foreground and far background are typically plain, allowing our focus to remain trained on the items placed on the table. Chardin would amend his compositions again and again until he created a balance of objects that he felt comfortable with. He would consider the balance both vertically and horizontally, and re-arrange objects until it is was just right. This meant frequent re-works of his oils on the canvas, too, and that would ultimately slow his progress down. His average output of work was just a handful of paintings, and he clearly focused on quality over quantity, that would have been well received by most members of the Royal Academy plus those who viewed his work at the salon.

Whilst he eventually looked elsewhere for inspiration, which led to a series of genre paintings, it is the still life fruit for which Chardin is most famous and also most respected. His attention to detail was extraordinary and some even claimed that his depictions were more lifelike than the objects themselves! After a certain period of time, though, it was questioned as to whether he continued to work life this because of his own limitations to take on other subjects, and that ultimately forced him out of his comfort zone. He did meet the challenge however, and produced some impressive portraits as well, normally capturing the simple lives of ordinary people going about their daily business in domestic settings.

Jar of Apricots in Detail Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin