I will astonish Paris with an apple.

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) astonished more than just Paris with his art. Over his career, the renowned, post-impressionist master created over 200 still life paintings of household objects – among which his favourite subjects were skulls, pitchers, and bowls of fruit. Although initially inspired by the French Impressionists, Cézanne quickly adopted his own style, creating illusions with a distinct abstraction that challenged how we perceived the most mundane objects that surround us. “Painting from nature is not copying the object,” Cézanne once wrote, “it is realizing one’s sensations.

Cézanne channeled these sensations by distilling objects to their most basic forms, using colours almost in patches next to one another rather than producing smooth gradients. He painted while sitting in multiple different positions, continuing under changing angles and lighting to create a holistic impression of these objects that captured their entire experience, rather than a singular time and frame. What transpired were often “rough”-looking illusions where fruits seem to levitate, edges of tables misalign, and uncovered spots of canvas peek through.

In exploring the theme of Nutrition & Metabolism, we draw parallels between Cézanne’s famous fruits and our understanding of how to be “healthy.” In trying to uncover the complex, interconnected factors of what makes us gain and lose weight, stave off disease, and live longer, we wade through overly simplified paradigms and primitive (but well packaged) fads that confuse and misinform, producing a rough and incomplete experience to the eyes of the beholder.

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Angela Zhou

Angela is a PhD student at the University of Toronto currently studying immune responses to influenza infection. When not in the lab, she enjoys painting, wandering aimlessly, and spending quality time with good friends.

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