Paul Cézanne
‘Still Life with Apple’

Jun 30, 2016

Key Pieces series

For this week’s Key Pieces series we go back to the 19th century and Still Life with Apples, a work by French painter Paul Cézanne.

1. Still Life with Apples is an oil on canvas painting made between 1893 and 1894.
2. Cézanne’s oeuvre is credited for forming the bridge between the then predominant Impressionism painting style and the early 20th century Cubism.
3. Cézanne painted this same composition comprising a green vase, a rum bottle, a ginger pot and apples over and over again during the last 30 years of his life.
4. The still life enabled Cézanne to paint a same object from several viewpoints.
5. For Cézanne: “Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing one’s sensations.”
6. Apples are a core of Cézanne’s work because of their simplicity, completeness in form and the very practical reason that they do not spoil too quickly. The French painter declared that “With an apple I want to astonish Paris. »
7. The symbolism behind the apple – symbol of Venus and attribute of Eve- represents Cézanne’s tormented relation to women of whom he had a pathological fear.
8. Cézanne’s still lives focus on the treatment of space and the effects of lights on shapes.
9. Cézanne managed to change the outlook on still life that was considered as a low genre.
10. Cézanne explored the use of ‘geometric simplification’ of objects such as apple, sphere etc. which inspire painters of the 20th century such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse who referred to Cézanne as «the father of us all.”

Capture d’écran 2016-05-29 à 16.44.10
Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Apples, 1893 – 1894, Oil on canvas, 65.4 × 81.6 cm (25 3/4 × 32 1/8 in.)