Self-Portrait (1887) by Paul Cezanne

Self-Portrait - Paul Cezanne - 1887

Artwork Information

TitleSelf-Portrait
ArtistPaul Cezanne
Date1887
Mediumoil,canvas
Dimensions44 x 36 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
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About Self-Portrait

The artwork in question is a self-portrait by the renowned post-impressionist artist Paul Cézanne, created in 1887. This oil on canvas measures 44 by 36 centimeters and exemplifies Cézanne’s contribution to the Post-Impressionism movement, which is characterized by a departure from the Impressionists’ focus on the natural depiction of light and color. Instead, Post-Impressionism favored a more expressive and symbolic approach.

The portrait portrays the artist himself, an insightful study of character and introspection. Cézanne has rendered his features with a robust application of paint, capturing the weight of his gaze and the solidity of his form. Colors appear to be applied in a methodical yet spontaneous manner, with a juxtaposition of warm and cool tones that work to model the artist’s face and attire. His attire includes a hat which is adorned with what appears to be a touch of paint, indicating perhaps his profession or preoccupation with his work. Cézanne’s brushwork is both deliberate and textured, indicating a keen sensitivity to the materiality of the paint and the surface of the canvas.

The background is muted. This allows the viewer’s attention to remain firmly fixed on the figure, particularly on the artist’s penetrating gaze, which confronts the viewer with a directness that is quite engaging. This self-portrait not only provides a visual autobiography of Cézanne but also exemplifies the shift towards a more subjective and emotionally resonant form of art that would pave the way for the various modernist movements that followed.

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