Paul Cézanne painted Still Life with Plaster Cupid in oil on canvas around 1895. This painting is part of the collection of the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.
What is depicted in Still Life with Plaster Cupid?
The painting shows a profile sculpture of Cupid surrounded by apples and onions, as well as the distinctive drapery that is located in the left segment of the composition.
Still Life with Plaster Cupid – 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.
About the painting Still Life with Plaster Cupid Theodore Rousseau Jr. writes in the book Paul Cezanne: “One of Cezanne’s most graceful and charming works, it is, when analyzed, also one of the most interesting and surprising. In conjunction with a still life of apples, onions, and drapery, it contains two of his favorite models, plaster casts of a small Cupid by Puget and a statue of a flayed man (an anatomical study figure) once attributed to Michelangelo. “
The sculpture and drapery from Still Life with Plaster Cupid are also recognizable in Still Life with Statuette, which was created five years earlier, around 1890. This painting is in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm.