I saw a painting by Paul Cezanne titled “Young Italian Woman at a Table,” circa 1895-1900, and the thing that struck me first was how he painted the tablecloth that is under the woman’s elbow. Let’s take a detail of that tablecloth and look at it by itself here below. It looks like a somewhat crazy and complex fabric pattern, and it almost becomes an abstract painting when viewed as a detail … I wish I could see a photograph of what the actual tablecloth looked like! Scroll down for a full view of the overall painting.

Paul Cezanne tablecloth detail

Here’s the full painting … as you can see, the woman is resting her head on her hand, leaning up against the table, and has a look of melancholy. I think her eyes contribute to that suggested emotion, partially because the eyes look so dark and full with the whites of the eyes barely visible. But there’s something else about these dark, full eyes that strikes me … as you may know, Pablo Picasso said that Cezanne had influenced him, and I wonder if Picasso ever saw this painting? The eyes make me think of some of Picasso’s portraits painted a few years later, make sure to look closely at the eyes of this Picasso painting as well as his famous portrait of Gertrude Stein. What do you think?

Paul Cezanne portrait of an Italian woman

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