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The Smoker

Paul Cezanne, 1839-1906

c.1890-1892

Oil on canvas; 92.5 x 73.5 cm

Cezanne's portrayals of smokers can be linked with 17th-century genre painting. Avoiding domestic details, the painter embodies the idea of aloofness from everyday cares. He is not interested in the sitter's character but in colouring and the forms of the figure. Cezanne does not even draw in the eyes – there are only dark hollows. ‘The peasant depicted by Cezanne is as individual as a portrait, as universal as an idea, as solemn as a monument, and as firm as a clear conscience,' commented the art critic Lionello Venturi.

 

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