When art critics weren't impressed by Paul Cézanne’s work, Samuel Courtauld championed the artist and bought his ‘Self Portrait’ for the nation. Curator Anne Robbins talks us through Cézanne’s painting of himself and ‘The Card Players’ in this promotional video produced for The National Gallery's 'Courtauld Impressionists' Exhibition.
Cézanne’s ‘Self Portrait’ (about 1880-81) from the National Gallery collection and ‘The Card Players’ (about 1892-6) from Courtauld’s private collection were displayed side by side in the exhibition. The painting depicting two men playing at cards is one of five versions of the iconic image. Anne explains how many critics were initially confused by Cézanne’s apparent poor draughtsmanship: his distortion of perspective, such as the table in the card players, and of proportion. The curator explores the ‘constructive’ brush stroke we witness in ‘Self Portrait’ that gives a sense of volume to the work through the application of small, parallel, organised brushstrokes.
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