Fireflies: "Still Life with Apples," Cézanne - October Masterpiece         

Nov 1, 2012

"Still Life with Apples," Cézanne - October Masterpiece

"Still Life with Apples"  Paul Cézanne 1895-1898

We've been talking a lot about apples here at Fireflies!  Above is a masterpiece by Paul Cézanne to connect to our apple-themed stories, songs, apple recipes, and "A" is for Apple family puppet theater night!

Every year when we look at various artists and their artwork I will often ask my PreK-Ks:  "What is a "still life?"  I more often than not get a roomful of blank stares!  Naturally, the next question might be, "What does it mean to be still?"  Little ones all know what it means to be still, not that they ever are, but they at least understand what it means!   

Usually, when artists take the time to paint a still life, they calculate their composition carefully.  Their subject matter is not moving so they can take however long they want to create it.  Artists will make great efforts to push the shape, value, color, form, space, line, texture -- all the elements of art -- to the degree it may almost even look like a photograph.

In the still life painting above, would you say this looks like a photograph?

Even our little budding artists might question the drawing skills of this artist.  However, this was created by the French artist Paul Cézanne who is considered to be the most influential painter of the late 19th century!  Even Pablo Picasso, who never praised anyone except himself, admitted his great debt to Cézanne.  Cézanne could draw very well, but he chose to purposely rock the art world by creating still life paintings that almost resembled that of a young child.   Cézanne's work explored new ways of laying down paint in a free yet calculated way.  His bright shapes of color, dark outlining, and playful brushstrokes lead the way to a new genre of art, bridging the gap between impressionism and cubism.

Reflection questions:
1.  What is a still life?
2.  What do you see in this painting?  (Do they notice the napkin on the plate, the trumpet and door in the background?)
3.  How many apples are there?  (7 and a half!  This is a great lesson not only on math, but on composition.   Perhaps, by studying this painting a seed will be laid to realize they don't have to "fit" all the objects of a still life into a painting.)

In my next post, we'll be putting the apple "still life" into motion!  Stay tuned and see you in the next post!

Written by Laura Bird Miller
Artist/Art Instructor, Circle Christian School
Orlando, Florida


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At November 1, 2012 at 2:53 AM , Blogger SOC Admin said...

You are wonderful, Laura. Circle Christian is blessed to have you inspiring their young artists. This is the first time I've noticed the .5 apple....!

At November 1, 2012 at 9:01 AM , Anonymous Laura Bird Miller said...

Thank you; I love what I do and am blessed to be able to walk in my passion. Thanks for letting me share! :)


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