Saint Mark’s Square in Venice
Department of Art after 1800
Pierre Bonnard painted this work at the time when the members of Les Nabis had already started to go their separate ways. Bonnard was also following his own path, turning away from his earlier decorative art, with its emphatic Japanese influence, towards a more stylised manner of painting and more intimate subjects. At the turn of the century, Bonnard made numerous paintings of dinners and get-togethers at the family estate in Le Grand-Lemps. In this painting, however, the main focus is not on the family members – the elderly lady sipping her post-prandial coffee and the slightly hesitant-looking young girl – but on the majestic curve of the table, which presses the human figures to the perimeter of the composition. Bonnard painted the central subject of the still life, spread out in front of the rather indistinct background, from an unusual perspective: the plane of the table, decorated in a white cloth, seems to spill out of the painting, highlighting the empty plates abandoned after the meal, and the delicious colours of the fruit piled high in elegant bowls. The solid mass of the furniture is balanced by the arc of the brass chandelier suspended from the ceiling. The artist used light brushstrokes and a patchwork of colours to build up this composition.
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.