Portrait of a Peasant, c. 1900
oil on canvas
92.7 x 73.7 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 5769)
In 1861 Cézanne abandoned law studies and moved to Paris, where he met the future Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. He rarely hired professional models, but relied instead on close friends, family members, or the anonymous citizens of his hometown of Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. The model for "Portrait of a Peasant" may have worked for Cézanne as a gardener. His heavy coat and hat suggest that it was painted during the late fall or winter. With its symmetry of line and careful layering of colour, this otherwise mundane subject takes on a calm monumentality.