Paul Cézanne, Pyramid of Skulls, Private Collection circa1901.
Working in isolation in the last decade of his life, #Cézanne
frequently alluded to mortality in his letters: “For me, life has begun to be deathly monotonous” It is possible that the death of his mother on October 25, 1897 accelerated his meditations on mortality, a subject which had obsessed the artist since the late 1870s, but did not find pictorial form for another twenty years.
The dramatic resignation to death informs a number of still life paintings he made between 1898 and 1905 of skulls. These works, some painted in oils and some with watercolor, are more subtle in meaning yet also more visually stark than the traditional approach to the theme of #vanitas.