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The Card Players, 1890-1895
|Artist||Cézanne, Paul||The subject of this painting of two peasants plying cards was probably inspired by a similar composition by one of the brothers Le Nain, French painters of the seventeenth century whose work Cézanne admired. He painted several versions of the subject, and there are numerous study drawings for both of the figures in this picture. His models ere peasants from the neighbouring farms, and he has painted them with a deep understanding of the simplicity and strength of their characters. There are no picturesque story-telling details; yet their thoughtful faces and bent shoulders tell us all about them, almost as if we were reading a chapter in Balzac.
The character of the peasants is emphasized by the use of arbitrary shadows to strengthen outlines, as in the head and hat of the man on the right. The rich colour harmony of reddish browns and blues is wonderfully suited to the representation of these men whose lives are devoted to working the land. The composition, made up of a series of interlocking triangles and rectangles, has a weight and solidity which also makes an important contribution to the general character of the picture.
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||47.5 x 57 cm|