Camille Pissarro - Still life 1867

Still life 1867
Still life
1867 99х81cm oil/canvas
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, USA

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Toledo Museum of Art Masterworks, p. 256-57:
"The Louvre will burn," wrote the artist Antoine Guillemet in 1866, employing intentionally incendiary and rhetorical language to describe and endorse the artistic revolution that his close acquaintances Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne (see 1959.13) were unleashing with their shocking canvases of the mid- to late 1860s. It was their goal to exhibit in their art an "audacity" that reflected a fidelity to individuality, which they termed "sincerity." Pissarro's still life of 1867, the first of only twenty-two that he would paint, is a monumental testament to this theoretical and practical approach to the making of art.
The subject of this painting is as much the insistent display of how it was created, as it is what is represented. Employing a palette knife to apply paint boldly in smooth, flat surfaces broken with sculpted areas of thick impasto, Pissarro also worked certain passages with the brush . This deliberate juxtaposition of techniques results in a vibrant surface that conveys great visual energy and emotional power. Before horizontal bands of ochre-colored wall and dark brown dado, a suspended spoon and ladle harmonize rhythmically with the objects resting on a white tablecloth: a ceramic bowl with a ham and knife, apples, a carafe and glass each with red wine, and half a loaf of bread.
The composition's stability and solid structure—even in the face of intentionally spatially ambiguous details such as where the white cloth appears to rise to the lip of the bowl at the far left—endow the objects with an immutability that transcends objectivity. As Pissarro would write to his son Lucien, who was himself pursuing a career as an artist, "Don't bother trying to look for something new: you won't find novelty in the subject matter, but in the way you express it."