Paul Cezanne's Human Still Life Painting– The Card Players

The Card Players is a series of famous oil paintings created in the 1890s by Paul Cezanne, who is a well-known French Post-Impressionist artist. There are 5 paintings of the same subject in this series. The subject is some peasants being fascinated in playing cards with their eyes casting downward. Each of the five paintings depicts the same scene. This series is favored and admired by critics as best works of Cezanne during his final period.

During the period of 1882-1888, it seemed that Cezanne concentrated himself on the landscape paintings. He strive to express his own feelings through the landscape. However, since 1888 till the end of the 19th century, his most outstanding works are portraits. Cezanne’s portraits are famous for their lack of drama, narrative, and conventional characterization. The Card Players is Cezanne’s best work in composition. He had repeatedly painted the cards player themed works.

Let’s have a look at the best painting among the five. The player sitting on the left wears a purple and blue shirt, and the player on the right is in yellow shirt. These images are very harmonious. Meanwhile the fleshy red skin and sandy table matches each other perfectly. These contracts result in stereoscopic images. The characters are vividly portrayed with distinguishing characteristic and the painting composition is smooth and symmetrical. There is no tone destroying he overall unity. If the painter added a few more coherent lines, it would lead to the isolation of the characters. All the objects painted are composed of a mass of colors. Obviously this painting fully embodies Cezanne’s personal .artistic style.

The models for the paintings The Card Players mainly were local farmhands so that it can reveal the real aspect of the life. Just as Cezanne’s still life painting, each scene stays at a quiet and still moment; the men look down at their cards thinking about how to play well. They do not look at each other and chat but concentrate themselves on the cards. Maybe playing cards is the only way for them to communicate.

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