The Black Marble Clock (c.1870) by Paul Cezanne

The Black Marble Clock - Paul Cezanne - c.1870

Artwork Information

TitleThe Black Marble Clock
ArtistPaul Cezanne
Datec.1870
Mediumoil,canvas
Dimensions55.2 x 74.3 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationPrivate Collection
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About The Black Marble Clock

“The Black Marble Clock” is a still life oil painting on canvas by Paul Cezanne, dating from around 1870. The artwork embodies the Romanticism art movement, although Cezanne is more often associated with Post-Impressionism. The piece measures 55.2 x 74.3 cm and is part of a private collection. Its genre, still life, suggests a focus on inanimate subjects, a common theme in Cezanne’s body of work.

The artwork depicts a seemingly commonplace domestic scene where a black marble clock serves as the central subject. The clock’s round, white face and dark body contrast sharply with the colorful and texturally varied items surrounding it. On either side of the clock, there appears to be vases with an attention to their reflection and subtle shading, reinforcing the sense of depth and space.

Foregrounded in the painting, there’s a draped fabric over a table or ledge, baring folds and creases that create a play of light and shadow, adding dimensionality to the scene. A cup and saucer sit slightly to the left in front of the draped fabric, and a segment of a ruffled garment or cloth, depicted with brisk, energetic brushstrokes in a reddish hue, occupies the left corner, drawing the eye with its warmer tones. To the right, one can observe books or boxes, resting casually, and contributing to the impression of an everyday moment captured in time.

All the elements are rendered with the loose, yet deliberate brushwork characteristic of Cezanne’s style, which began to eschew the strict realism of Romanticism while paving the way to the more abstract and expressionistic tendencies of modern art. The perspective is slightly askew, a hallmark of Cezanne’s exploration of visual perception that would greatly influence the development of Cubism and the overall trajectory of 20th-century art.

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