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All We Know About Cezanne’s Fruits

Food

All We Know About Cezanne’s Fruits

Paul Cezanne was widely misunderstood by his contemporaries. This shy man, who was a precursor of Cubism and Fauvism, loved to paint fruits (in art history called “still lifes”). This is all we know about Cezanne and his fruits:

1. Still lifes were his favorite

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with Scull, 1898, The Barnes Foundation

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with Scull, 1898, The Barnes Foundation

Most of Cezanne’s paintings are still lifes. They were made in a studio using very simple stuff like a cloth, a vase or bowl. Or a scull.

2. At the beginning apples looked like apples.

Paul Cezanne, Apples, 1878-79, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Paul Cezanne, Apples, 1878-79, Metropolitan Museum of Art


These Apples are among his early works. They look quite real- it changed later.

3. Then, apples started to look like flat balls.

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses, ca. 1895, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses, ca. 1895, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Cézanne’s works are both traditional and modern. His fruits became quite abstract with time – later they were just splotch of color enclosed by a line. Like here, they don’t have any purpose except of being decorative objects.

 4. For him the nature should be like a sphere:

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with Apples and Oranges, 1899, Musée d'Orsay

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with Apples and Oranges, 1899, Musée d’Orsay

Cézanne was interested in the simplification of naturally occurring forms to their geometric essentials: he wanted to “treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone”. An apple or orange would be a sphere obviously.

5. He created an illusion of depth

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with a Curtain, 1895, Hermitage Museum

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with a Curtain, 1895, Hermitage Museum


Though a precursor of Cubism, Cezanne often created an illusion of depth – like on this painting, with the curtain at the back and these white sheets in the front.

6. He mixed perspectives

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with Apples and Peaches, 1905, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with Apples and Peaches, 1905, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Here we can see the beginning of a new system of representation, one that Cézanne would subsequently develop, and that would open the way to Cubism. Whereas the fruits on the table are shown frontally, the perspective of the table is much more raked: in the same composition, the objects are painted from several different viewpoints.

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Art Historian, founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

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