Skull And Candlestick (c. 1866) by Paul Cezanne

Skull And Candlestick - Paul Cezanne - c. 1866

Artwork Information

TitleSkull And Candlestick
ArtistPaul Cezanne
Datec. 1866
MediumOil On Canvas
Dimensions18 3/4 x 24 5/8 in. (47.5 x 62.5 cm)
Current LocationPrivate Collection, Switzerland

About Skull And Candlestick

Paul Cézanne’s Skull and Candlestick is an exceptional piece in the artist’s oeuvre. Although still-life paintings involving skulls were common at the time, Cézanne tended to avoid such props, preferring more ordinary household items. This painting is an exception to his usual practice and serves as a reminder of the fleetingness of life in European still-life tradition.

Cézanne is widely considered one of the most influential painters of the late 19th century. His unconventional painting technique inspired expressionist and cubist artists, and Pablo Picasso himself admitted his great debt to Cézanne. The artist preferred painting what he saw rather than what was considered popularly accepted, insisting that painting stays in touch with its material origins.

Skull and Candlestick stands out for its simplicity yet compelling composition. It features a white skull resting on a dark surface beside a lit candlestick with a white base in front. The use of contrasting light and shadow adds depth to this otherwise minimalistic work. With this masterpiece, Cézanne highlights his mastery of color harmony and composition while also expressing mortality through his choice of subject matter.

In conclusion, Paul Cézanne’s Skull and Candlestick may not be representative of the artist’s typical work but its contrasting elements make it undoubtedly remarkable. This piece illustrates how art can convey deeper meanings through symbolism even when utilizing everyday objects as subjects for their paintings.

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