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Cézanne: Still Life with Plaster Cast

Is this a thing of beauty?

Is it a thing of beauty?

Cézanne's work was virtually unknown for most of his lifetime, except to a few other artists and dedicated collectors. But shortly after his death he began to be recognised as one of the true giants, whose work was so influential as to play a key role in changing the face and direction of art. He is to modern art what Giotto was to the Renaissance. Cézanne, through his work, showed that there was a new way of seeing and a new way of recording our perception of the world, outside the conventions that had been established by the Renaissance. His subject matter is, in fact, very traditional: landscapes, nudes, portraits, or a still life set up in a corner of the studio. But rather than apply the polished techniques that were taught in the art schools (and which Cézanne was never able to master), he disciplined himself to record only what he actually saw. This famous still life painting, which was painted towards the end of this great artist's life, can be seen as a remarkable demonstration of this activity. But it also shows that his was not just a cold, objective eye. His humble still life objects are observed with devoted passion, and he strives to make his paintings into an object of great beauty (albeit unconventional).

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