Although he produced still lifes and everyday scenes, considered to be less important genres, the French artist Jean Simeon Chardin (1699--1779) was a key figure of his generation, esteemed by his fellow artists and patronized by collectors across Europe.
Young Student Drawing counts among his most popular early genre scenes, and he made at least five versions of it, among them the Kimbell Art Museum's painting of around 1738.
It depicts a student clad in a torn coat and seated on a studio floor, hunched over a drawing board and copying a drawing of a male nude.
The convincingly rendered details convey the student's poverty, the dank studio environment, and the hardship and monotony of artistic training.
Chardin sometimes paired this work with another, portraying a young woman, titled The Embroiderer.
This focused assessment of Chardin's masterful painting addresses questions about artistic training and patronage of the time, and also about the development of naturalism during this period in which the Rococo style was dominant.