Paul Cézanne - The smoker 1890

The smoker 1890
The smoker
1890 90x82cm oil/canvas
Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

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From Hermitage, St. Petersburg:
One of a whole series of pictures of smokers and card players, this excellent work was painted in the artist's studio. The prototypes for such figures appeared in the paintings of the Old Masters back in the 17th century, but here there is no subject, no narrative interest. Nor is there any sense of a genre, despite the prosaic nature of the motif. The calm, solid pose, the generalised face without any gestures or expression, the monumental figure, all give the image a classical majesty. The integrity of human nature is captured in three-dimensional forms. "Most of all," said Cezanne, "I love the appearance of those who have aged without ever changing their habits." Such is the hero of this work.