Our Art / Jean Metzinger / Nature Morte

Nature Morte by Jean Metzinger
Nature Morte by Jean Metzinger

Nature Morte, 1918

Jean Metzinger

Recognizable objects emerge from this composition of flat planes, patterns and shapes. At first glance, it’s an abstract jumble, but on closer looking, you’ll see a checkerboard, some bottles, with parts of their labels visible, a white tablecloth on a blue and black table, and a brown and yellow pattern that could be a straw carpet. It’s a still life, and the artist achieves a multi-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional surface by breaking forms into geometric, pattern-covered flat planes, folded into a composition of everyday objects that renders them both familiar and inscrutable. The artist was an early pioneer in the Cubist art movement, in which artists explored the idea of moving around a scene in order to see it from different points of view.

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Credit
Yale University Art Gallery, Charles B. Benenson Collection
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