Introduction: The power of the art critic and historian is often far more than many recognize. It is through his eyes that one sees the art, particularly the art of periods past. It is his perspective from which one reads the work. Meyer Schapiro’s article Cézanne’s Apples illustrates the power that the writer has to manipulate the viewer’s interpretation. Various forms of art critique have developed as an approach to art interpretation. Schapiro’s psychoanalytic approach, that is, his search for the underlying meaning and relevance to the painting, *
Thesis: While Schapiro’s argument shows a well-considered analysis of the artist’s life as a source of interpretation of Cézanne’s work, much of it is based on suggestion and fantasy. As in all historical interpretation, Cézanne’s work should be viewed within the context of the artist’s historical and biographical framework, but with a formalist analysis of the works that enables the viewer to interpreted not only their personal value, but their intended communication. criticism of Cezanne's art cannot and, I believe, should not be limited by critical schools of thought. Also, though perhaps it has been the nature of critics to make vastly differentiating interpretations of Cézanne’s work, both forms of analysis add to the richness of the dialogue that can expand one’s preconceived notions of the work and widen the scope of understanding and perspective. *
Contrary to views of critics such as Roger Fry whose formalist analysis deduces Cézanne’s works as only a problem of form and color, Schapiro seeks more symbolist meaning within the subject matter chosen by the artist. *
Schapiro argues that the objects placed within the still-life display “a game of an introverted personality who has found for his art of representation an objective sphere in which he feels self-sufficient, masterful, free from disturbing other spheres.” Schapiro believes that fruit is...
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