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Video transcript

[Music] we're in the crook told galleries and we're looking at still life with plaster cast it dates to the middle of his career I do think it's a little bit hard to find one point of view that works for this whole painting if you look at the table in the foreground with these fruits and this little plaster cast then that seems to have been painted from one angle and if you look toward the background then all of a sudden it's is that the floor or is that a piece of drapery and it's hard to unify okay so maybe we should start in foreground we have this plaster cast of a bootie of this little angelic figure no arms he's rather cute he's a little elongated and he's in a kind of contrapposto so that he's actually moving but what Cezanne seems to have done is to actually accentuate the turn of his body which becomes a kind of access for the entire painting and then something even more interesting happens which is that as you move back you see a series of stacked canvasses perhaps the stretcher bar of a canvas that's facing away from us canvas seen in an oblique angle just in back of the pootie's back and we can actually make out a figure on the upper right and then there's a piece of fruit which is the floor perhaps or is it a ball and it seems to come forward and what that does visually is it pushes the entire canvas up and forward in the back and really denies any kind of spatial depth it then completes the circle around the painting by bringing your attention back to the foreground that you've kind of been tipped back into and also because the subject of that painting that we see a little bit of in the background is facing back towards us and we have the fruit on the floor maybe which is kind of connected back to the fruit on the table in the foreground so it does make the composition complete everything seems to be shifting slightly the cupid figure as he said seems to twist or says an exaggerated so that the figure in the back that's part of a painting that's rendered yeah it seems to be moving if you look closely at the outlines of the fruit they seem to sort of slightly shift and so nothing seems to be stable everything is in flux what kind of intentionality is in back of this why in the world would say son want to do such a thing it's such a complicated and problematic rendering and space and there are alignments that make it even more quirky for instance if that's an onion a very large onion bulb in the lower left just in back of the pootie's feet the skin of the onion seems to end in the green star it's just at the line where we see the floor and that line continues up and picks up the opposite hip of the putti and then the groin picks up the edge again of the of the canvas so that there's this whole series of almost dagon like intersections that play fast and loose with our expectations of space which clearly points out that it's not that say London you know what he was doing by mixing all these points of view and twisting everything around that it was a conscious artistic choice and this is still a carefully composed image even though it's not necessarily how we traditionally think of a still life for instance the table being at the angle of the foot that comes towards us but I'm seeing as the hips turn in a sense space turning as well as defined by the canvas and back of it and then is it possible that the face is aligned even with the canvas and back of that so that the reality is constructed by the figure within it is it insane to be thinking of Matisse's red studio right now this is an artist's studio we have staff canvasses we have images that the artist is working on pieces of still and we have a canvas that's unified by a close to single tonality blues with some reds and greens but there's something about perhaps an interpretation of the space of the artists studio from a more personal point of view although it's hard to read the personal into Cezanne because it seems so much about space and construction and shape although some art historians I'm thinking myrish Pierrot certainly bring the personal and through the iconography the forms in the still life I would suspect that Matisse was working through issues that Suzanne is raising here and in other canvases of this time with the dismantling of space but I think they have to do really with the subjectivity of the viewer in space and do we actually construct the space as we move through it and is space in fact a much more subjective and constructed set of issues as opposed to the sort of ideal architectural understanding you can see why the modernists of the early 20th century would pick up on this because they're something even in a way more radical in this reassembling of space [Music]