Pyramid of Skulls
French painter, one of the greatest of the Postimpressionists, whose works and ideas were influential in the aesthetic development of many 20th-century artists and art movements, especially Cubism. Cezanne's art, misunderstood and discredited by the public during most of his life, grew out of Impressionism and eventually challenged all the conventional values of painting in the 19th century through its insistence on personal expression and on the integrity of the painting itself. He has been called the father of modern painting.
Even Cézanne's pictures of people can be regarded as still lifes, because he demanded that his models sit absolutely still. Sitting for him was something of a nightmare. Not only was he foul-tempered, he was an extremely slow painter, probably the reason his subjects always look tired and sombre. Ambroise Vollard, the dealer who arranged Cezanne's first one-man show a century ago, posed 115 times for a single painting, sitting absolutely still "like an apple" and then Cézanne, dissatisfied, abandoned the picture with only two unpainted spots remaining. He told Vollard that with luck he would find the correct color and could finish the painting. "The prospect of this made me tremble," noted Vollard in his biography of the painter. In the artist's eye, there was no difference between a human sitter and a bowl of fruit, except that the reflection value and the palette were different. In the end, both his subjects and his fruit wilted.