Paul Cézanne painted Still Life with Onions and Bottle in oil on canvas between 1896 and 1898. This painting is part of the collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
What is depicted in Still Life with Onions and Bottle?
In this still life, multiple onions are presented on a table, along with a glass and bottle and a white cloth falling from the table.
Still Life with Onions and Bottle – Analysis
Still life was a very important part of Cézanne’s work. The inventive and revolutionary principles that Cézanne introduced to still life painting can be traced through his relationship to perspective, line, and color. In the domain of perspective, Cézanne made changes that would greatly influence the later development of modern painting. He refined the default concept of linear perspective by introducing the idea of simultaneous observation of objects from several points. Relying on the theory of inverse perspective, Cézanne strove to provide as much information as possible about the presented subject. In structuring the scene, Cézanne minimized the role of the line. Although drawing was very important in Cézanne’s detailed preparation for each composition, the scene ultimately rests on the complex relationship of colors. Thus, the line in the scene was replaced by a combination of colored fields arranged according to the idea of complementarity. The complementarity of colors is the key element of Cézanne’s complex palette. Cézanne achieved harmony in both still lifes and landscapes by modulating painted surfaces based on the combination of warm and cold tones.
A similarity in compositional structure can be recognized in a still life that Paul Cézanne did a few years earlier. The painting is Bottle and Fruits, created around 1890. This painting is in the collection of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.