Still life

  • Artist: Paul Cezanne
  • Creation date: Ca. 1890
  • Object type: Painting

On display: Room 054 The Collection Exhibition - A revolution in painting


In his still lifes, Paul Cézanne focused on formal problems of colour and shape. He approached such paintings analytically and experimented with a gradation of hues in order to give the objects volume and three-dimensionality. Compared with impressionist painters, Cézanne emphasized more strongly the composition and geometric construction of his pictures.

Still Life exemplifies this approach. Cézanne composed the fruit on the table by using various hues and bold, directional brushstrokes. The conventional use of light and shade has been rejected, as have the conventional rules for creating the illusion of space. The tabletop’s lines do not lead into the room but give us the impression of seeing the table from above. At the same time, Cézanne uses overlapping and perspective to depict the objects and fruit on the table, so that we nonetheless perceive depth in the painting. Eschewing conventional notions of depth, Cézanne lets each individual object be independent of a unifying central perspective.

Cézanne’s role in developing the field of painting in the first half of the twentieth century can hardly be overstated. Both Matisse and Picasso hailed him as a source of inspiration for their own radical breaks with tradition, and he has subsequently inspired several generations of artists. For his own artistic development, his encounter with the impressionists Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro in Paris in the 1860s and 1870s was of decisive importance.

Text: Vibeke Waallann Hansen

From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0


Paul Cezanne

Visual artist

Born 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, Provence, death 1906 in Aix-en-Provence, Provence

Work info

Creation date:
Ca. 1890
Other titles:
Nature morte (NOR)
Nature morte: pot à lait et fruits sur une table (FRA)
Stilleben mit Milchkrug und Früchten auf einem Tisch (DEU)
Oppstilling med frukt og mugge (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Height: 59.5 cm
  • Width: 72.8 cm
  • Depth: 2.6 cm
Motif - type:
Acquired 1910
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Børre Høstland/Jarre, Anne Hansteen