Formal Analysis of the Basket of Apples

Topics: Shape, Color, Painting Pages: 2 (680 words) Published: March 1, 2013
This paper is a formal analysis of the Basket of Apples, a still life oil painting made by Paul Cézanne in 1895. The painting is about 25.6 inches tall times 31.5 inches wide. This composition illustrates a geometric spatial organization on disjointed perspectives. Although the artwork is absent of any symbolic and mythological content, its essence is to illustrate harmony of its various elements over subject matters. The systematic representation of shapes and colors are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable in this art piece. Repetitive round and angular shapes are dominant forms apparent within the work. These simple geometric shapes support the composition of structural regularity in the subjects of the painting. Furthermore, the artist skillfully employs effects of light and shade to make a simple shape such as a circle to look like an apple. However, the light is not evenly distributed as the objects in the right portion of the painting appears to be more luminous than the objects on the left side. The color is another very important element in the painting. The way the tonal patterns are distributed create color harmony. The painting does not utilize a wide range of colors, instead, the overall color arrangement is confined to a few cool and warm tones. The cool tone of the pearl white cloth, the plate and the grey wall are made to draw a distinct attention from the warm autumn-like tone of the other objects on the table and the table itself. Furthermore, complementary colors are also used to create contrast. This is evident in the placement of green and red apples inside the basket. However, the color contrast and transition are cleverly accomplished in a subtle manner. This complements the dominating use of analogous colors, such as red and orange, to achieve overall color harmonies in the painting. It is also worth noting that the color becomes more intense as the objects becomes smaller. Dabbing of uneven colors and visible brushstrokes are...
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