The Murder (c. 1870) by Paul Cezanne

The Murder - Paul Cezanne - c.1868

Artwork Information

TitleThe Murder
ArtistPaul Cezanne
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions65.5 x 80.7 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationWalker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK
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About The Murder

The Murder is an early painting of Paul Cézanne, created in the late 1860s. The composition shows two figures about to murder a third, forming a triangle with opposing forces and harsh, brutal strokes. This violent scene’s theme reflects Cézanne’s tormented relationship with his family and his fascination with Romantic literature during this period. Notably, Cézanne’s work in his youth was melancholic, featuring religious imagery.

Cézanne aimed to create art based on observation and perception. The form used in “The Murder” exhibits a distorted depth effect that creates tension between the figures and their environment; there are multiple vanishing points rather than one central point. In addition to perceptive tension, brushstrokes convey overlapping elements saturating the painting.

Later in the artist’s career, his handling of paint became more structured and ordered rather than loose as seen in “The Murder.” Also noted for being influential concerning modern art movements such as Cubism or Fauvism historians can see how Cezanne made contributions to aesthetics by conveying human emotion through contextually distinct paintings like “The Murder.”

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