Pablo Picasso’s Fruit Dish

It is widely known that Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

who is celebrated for his work in Cubism, studied Paul Cézanne’s (1839–1906), who is most associated with Post-Impressionism, late work with great care. In as much as, impressionist treatment of volume and space influenced Picasso, in the development of Cubism. His contemporary, Cézanne used contrasting primary colors to create distance, depth, and structure. In so doing he created the illusion of three-dimensions. Cézanne’s emphasis on multiple viewpoints of vision in his work, would be taken even further by Picasso.

A detailed view of Pablo Picasso's "Fruit Dish" (1908-1909)

Examination of Pablo Picasso Fruit Dish, 1908-1909

reveals the use of multi-dimensional perspective. In his still-life Fruit Dish, Picasso chose cool tones of secondary colors green and purple along with a muted tone of the primary color blue. The color palette he chose has an almost monochromatic dullness with very little saturation. Picasso paints with a subdued tonality that approaches monochrome; he chose subdued tones, blurring the distinction between color and subject. Picasso borrows from Cezanne’s technique of using color to create depth and space in his composition. The cool blue piece of fruit in the upper right corner recedes and the warmer green pieces of fruit painted in the fruit dish move toward the viewer. This creates the illusion of space and depth in Picasso’s work.

Picasso’s Fruit Dish, has a smooth matte texture that can be described as subtle but distinct to the eye of the viewer. The tactile quality of Picasso’s brushwork gives different feelings to the various surfaces of the objects in Fruit Dish. By using Cezanne’s technique of “non-finito” leaving exposed canvas surface to bring light in Picasso, makes the actual fruit dish appear polished and shiny. He has painted the blue vessel to appear to have a smooth matte finish, while the brown table appears rough and coarse.

Picasso uses dark shades around the edge of his objects to not only define the shapes of the objects but create dimension and depth.

On the left edge of the table he creates a geometric shape that allows the viewer to see the top and side of the table simultaneously. Picasso has outlined the edge of his napkin with sharp straight lines that add abstract dimension rather than impressionistic.
Cubist artists would produce art that was more purely abstract than anything which had preceded it, and which was at the same time a realistic art, dealing with the representation of the material world around them.

G. Anthony Williams

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