Analysis Of Paul Cezanne

’s Work Essay, Research Paper


Paul Cezanne is considered one of the greatest and most memorable artists of the Post-Impressionist period. His techniques were admired and greatly influential in the development of Cubism and many other modern art movements. He employed several styles in his works, such as his still life productions. In 1894 he produced a brilliant piece of work entitled ?Still Life with a Peppermint Bottle?. Through this work he used elaborate techniques that most artists had not even discovered during his era.

Cezanne mastered the technique of still life. In his paintings he used random objects such as a peppermint bottles and fruit (these examples taken from his painting, ?Still Life with a Peppermint Bottle?), which symbolized the private part of man?s nature. Jane Roberts supports this idea in stating that, ? ? man will gladly surround himself with beloved knick knacks with which he can be isolated with and alone?? (Roberts 213). She goes on to say that these objects are contemplative in nature, allowing man to sit and ponder their meaning. When I speak of contemplation, I mean that every object is taken into account and their meaning of existence and placement are reflected upon.

The fruit on the table has many other meanings besides being edible or for human use. By observing the fruit, you come to realize that the fruit is not being used for a human purpose, such as for food. It is something to be contemplated rather than considered for human needs, it is of a non-human essence and exists mainly for the eye. It is meant to be explored in vision alone and tantalize the eye. The next object that is noticed in the painting are the images of the flask and peppermint bottle. The peppermint bottle is drawn with an elegant double curvature, which reappears in the simple rounding of the fruit. The darker shades emitted from the bottle and flask creates a sense of intensity and warmth. The flask is compared to the peppermint bottle as simpler, but yet illustrious. This object is depicted as having no use in human purpose; its only purpose is merely to be contemplated by the observer. The elegant curves of the peppermint bottle and the flask can be described as being simple but yet bold. They seem to stand out in the picture and are the first to be noticed due to their great design. They seem to be superior over the rest of the objects in the painting. The next thing noticed by the human eye is the elegant drapery that is placed over the table. The drapery seems to have the greatest curves in the entire painting. It is freely drawn but is still has the constricting folds and curves. However, even though it is freely drawn the observer can see that it works in complete harmony with the other objects in the painting. All of these objects work together to form the still life masterpiece that Cezanne had intended.

When we observe these objects together, we can see Cezanne?s intention of the masterpiece. When we look at the vertical and horizontal aspects of the painting, we receive whole different view of the artwork. The horizontal aspect of the painting is surpressed and the table is the only evidence of a horizontal element. The table is hidden and not very apparent to the eye. Yet, the vertical aspect of the painting is portrayed in many different ways. The wall is a great example of this technique. The wall is brought close to the other objects through the severe lines drawn and the colors used. The kneaded drapes are another part of the painting that reveal the vertical aspect of the work. The freely flowing drapes with their accidental folds and curves surrounding the objects on the table leave a mental image of trees and buildings in hidden depressions of the earth. The flask and peppermint bottle seem to rise out the drapery just like trees and buildings rise out of the earth. Another vertical aspect that Cezanne uses is that of the transparent glass, which allows us to see several layers of the objects. His invention of lines as well as his abundant use of curves and continuity of lines is another technique that is typical of Cezanne. It is what makes the picture so interesting. Everything seems to flow together without interruption. Cezanne creates a masterpiece by using simple techniques that lead to an extravagant, complex production.

The question we must ask ourselves is what gave Cezanne the idea of a still life and what was his opinion on the production of this type of artwork. ? ?Still life is an extension of our being as masters of nature, artisans, and tool users?they are things we manipulate and owe their positions to our handling?artificial things that are subordinate to ourselves-that serve and delight us?? (Wechsler 17). As you can see Cezanne believed in giving the objects depicted in the still life paintings a unique meaning. He made them go from things we use to things we admire and respect. It is my opinion that still life paintings allow us to look at the painting from an angle from which we normally would not see. The peppermint bottle and flask take on a new meaning of purity and strength, which would not be perceived in their normal form. However, by manipulating them into the positions you want, they take on a whole new appearance, which was the exact intent of Cezanne.


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