Still Life with Apples (1890)
painting 231 of 352 by Paul Cézanne
Information about painting
Apples were at the centre of Cézanne’s attention for a number of reasons. Not only are they beautiful in color, but in comparison with other fruit they are more varied. The artist was attracted to the simplicity and completeness of their form. There was also a practical reason important to him: apples do not spoil quickly. With his prolonged work he had to take this quality into consideration. Yet it is not enough to cite the practical or artistically formal reasons for such a predilection.
At some level the motivating factor for the use of the apples was the meaning hidden in them. The apple is a symbol of Venus and an attribute of Eve. The passions that had from youth tormented Cézanne, a fear of women that was almost pathological, found expression in a number of his works.
In the present painting, along with the apples and the lemon, an unusual object is shown: a small metal flowerpot, or can, with some wilted plant. The presence of this pot is not clear: in all probability the artist introduced into his still life another form, the cylinder, and another color, grey, setting off the pure tones of the apples and the lemon.