I confess to a predilection for the earlier work of certain well known painters versus the output on which their reputations rest. Mondrian is a good example. His severe geometry is reverence-triggering, but I’ve seen paintings he made on his journey to the mature work that I could cozy up to, putting it blandly.
The early still life shown above isn’t recognizable as a Cézanne to my eye, nor as a “conventional depiction,” though yes, perhaps painted “in a relatively traditional way,” as viewed by an observer able to compare it to a little known baroque-era work of 1640.
What sets Cézanne’s still life apart is precisely that “rougher handling of paint” — the slathered impasto modeling, the inky backdrop, and the quality of oozing light, captured as if on the fly, and left almost dripping from the vessels. Damn if it’s not remarkably fine and relatable!
(Matthew Wilson, “The painter who revealed how our eyes really see the world,” theguardian.com, 10-18-22)
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