At first glance, this oil painting on canvas by Paul Cezanne appears to be a simple still life. Then one notices the relationship of the objects. The perspective seems slightly haphazard starting with the line of the table edge in the foreground which does not continue in a straight, even, predictable manner. The bread plate in the upper right looks as though the viewer would have to be standing up, looking down and across, all at the same time. The basket of apples is tilted, but what is it resting on? A large book? A chopping block with no knife?
Form is suggested but not in a consistent way. There are so many shadows, but no definite evidence of one light source. The eye travels in a sweeping curve from the handle of the upturned basket, to the apples it seems unable to contain, down to the cloth and across the scattered apples, then to that troublesome table edge, up to the white bread plate, to the leaning wine bottle with no label, and completing the circle, back to the basket. Everything is connected, almost cramped, yet there is a feeling of wholeness despite the chaos. A sense of comfort.
The contrast of curves and edges creates a pleasing effect. The splotchy, multi-colored muted background, a wall perhaps, is soothing compared to the explosive jumble of reds, green, orange, and yellows in the fruit. Cezanne has stood up, sat down, walked around this still life. Painted in the late 1890's, the artist reaches past death and time to convey he has touched all of this with his paint stained hands. Cezanne drank from this bottle, arranged the cloth, possibly gathered the apples, perhaps eating one or two while pondering how to show the diverse aspects in an understandable way. This was the beginning of a new horizon, polyvisional cubism.