Paul Cézanne painted the Blue Vase in oil on canvas around 1887. This painting is in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
What is depicted in the Blue Vase?
This still life represents a vase with cut flowers in the central field of the composition. On the table, in addition to the vase, there is also a plate, a bottle, and fruit.
The Blue Vase – 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.
The motif of cut flowers in a vase can also be found in a still life painted by Cézanne two years later: The painting The Vase of Tulips is in the collection of The Art Institute of Chicago.