Self Portrait with Palette (1884)
painting 224 of 352 by Paul Cézanne

Self Portrait with Palette, 1884 by Paul Cézanne

Information about painting

Among the approximately twenty-five self-portraits of the artist, extending from his early years down to the end, the self-portrait with the palette occupies a special position. Whereas all the others are heads and busts, this is the only half-length picture, which is also larger than the other portraits. The artist is standing erect before the easel, which runs diagonally right across the picture. In his right hand he holds the palette the horizontal rectangle of which is almost parallel to the lower and left edges of the picture and formally continues the line of the right arm.

Here Cézanne strives towards an especially severe composition, which is reinforced by the chromatic restriction to the dark-blue of the coat, continued in the raven-black of the beard, and to the sandy tones of the skin and the easel. We see the artist who has isolated himself from the world by his consummate performance and now in cool solitude lives only for his work.