Cezanne’s Still Life with Plaster Cast is not a traditional representation of a still life painting,
but this wouldn’t be expected of the avant-garde art of the modern period. The angles are
distorted and warped; making it difficult to establish from what position the spectator is
viewing the objects within the picture space. An example of this is in the twisting of the
plaster cast figure. The statues right shoulder and right foot are pointing towards the
viewer, his pelvis and torso facing the extreme left, and his left shoulder and foot twisting
towards to back of the room. This shows that when painting, Cezanne undoubtedly shifted
his positions to get better viewpoints on what he was painting. The distorted angles give a
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3.30). Classical paintings evoke a sense of a universe trapped
within the confines of the frame, a world one could step in-to, and Cezanne’s still life does
Cezanne has created a shallow, densely filled picture space. Far from the traditional
use of changing tone to represent spatial density, he keeps the tone he uses equal
throughout, using bright yellow, green and red to represent the vitality of the fruit, gritty
whites and greys for the plaster, bold blues for the material, creating confusion in respect to
where the objects are located in respect to one another.
Some shadowing can be identified in the painting, but this again does not follow
classical traditions as the shadows do not follow the same line of light due to
Cezanne’s trademark technique was his style of brushwork, using wide and defined
brush strokes to apply his paint, leaving his touches and colours un-blended, giving the
surface of his painting ‘a mosaic like quality’ (Harrison, C., 2008, p. 66). This makes it
impossible for the observer to forget they are admiring the skill of applying paint to canvas,
and not a world of fantasy beyond the paint, as is the case in traditional styles.
For a painting to be defined as modern art, it is expected to be appreciated as
something made out of materials in the present, ‘drawing on the sensation of real rather
than literary or mythological scenes [...] executed in an original style [...] stimulating to a
fresh emotional response rather than a reassuring sentimentality’ (Harrison, C., 2008, p. 68).
Paul Cezanne’s Still Life with Plaster Cast without a doubt falls into this category.