Analysis Of Still Life With Apples And Oranges By Paul Cezanne

2224 words - 9 pages

This assignment will provide an analysis of the Modernist artwork of Paul Cezanné's, Still-Life with Apples and Oranges (c.1899) within the art movement of Impressionism. The analysis will be based upon the aesthetic and ideological underpinnings of the avant-garde. This will be done with reference to the writings of Charles Harrison and Clement Greenberg. Firstly, Modernism and the avant-garde will be discussed as defined by Harrison and Greenberg as the introduction to the discussion of the chosen artwork of Cezanné, followed by the analysis of the artwork with reference to the writings and how Cezanné's artwork and artistic characteristics and personal views attribute to Still-Life with Apples and Oranges (c.1899) whilst being classified within the framework of Modernism.

Avant-garde is a term referred to works or concepts that are experimental and 'cutting-edge' concepts (Avant-garde:2014). In the purpose of this study, Cezanné was part of early 20th-century art world’s avant-garde known as Impressionism. Clement Greenberg (1909: 755), identifies Kant as the first philosopher to describe Modernism as a self-critical tendency as he was the first to criticize criticism in itself. A modernist is said to be seen as a kind of critic, who criticizes according to a specific set of values and ideas about the development of art, thus a modernist is not necessarily seen as a kind of artist (Harrison 1996:147).According to Greenberg, Modernism self-criticizes itself differently when compared to the Enlightenment as the Enlightenment criticizes from the outside whereas Modernism does so from the inside (Greenberg 1909:755).

Greenberg states that the arts was in danger of being classified as entertainment. The only way arts would be able to save itself from this classification, according to Greenberg was to demonstrate that the experience that the art would provide was valuable on its own and was not to be associated as being obtained from another activity. Furthermore each art had to determine the area that was exclusive to it, this would narrow its capabilities whilst simultaneously making this area more secure. These capabilities entailed all that was unique to the nature of the medium (Greenberg 1909:755).

In relation to what Harrison states in the subject of self-criticism, Greenberg notes that the ability of art to portray all that is unique, self-criticism thus became a task to eliminate all that belongs to any other from of art and thus the art become 'pure'. This purity would guarantee its quality and independence. Modernism strived to call attention to art where Realistic art used art to conceal it. What Modernists also strived to do differently than the Old Masters, was to see factors such as the flat surface in a positive manner (Greenberg 1909:755).

Charles Harrison (1996:142), states that the fundamental feature of modernism was its intention to reject its prior classical style. Modernism, according to Harrison functions in...

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