Paul C


Paul CÉzanne Essay, Research Paper

Paul Cézanne, who was the son

of a wealthy banker, became a painter in the 1860s in Paris when he quit his

studies of Law. By 1874 he was painting landscapes in the Impressionist manner

and had some of his work included in their first exhibition held during that

very same year. He painted in the

Impressionistic manner, but sheared off in a different direction to the main

body of Impressionist painters. The main body of Impressionist painters were

concerned with the ‘fleeting effects of light and colour’, and in order to

capture the surface impression of that moment ‘they had to work fluently and

quickly’. CÉzanne’s analysis was far more prolonged and pains taking; he spent

so long analysing his subjects that some of his work was never finished. He began to be more concerned

with the use of colour in modelling objects and landscape and as a way of

expressing their underlying form. The basic ideas of Cubism have been claimed

to be present in his philosophy. His theory was that the painter could always

find the cone, the sphere and the cylinder in Nature, and that all natural

shapes were composed of these shapes at their most basic form. CÉzanne inherited sufficient

wealth to live in rich seclusion in Provence near Aix. He needed this solitude

or he found it difficult getting on with others: being naturally ill at ease,

neurotically sensitive and suffering from outbursts of temper. His great contribution to art

was to make Impressionism solid: to restore the careful analysis of form and

structure that pervaded the old masters but to combine this with an intensity

of colour and harmony, full of personal expression. In his landscapes he showed

a deep feeling for the force of nature in each sweeping line and chopping

stroke of the brush, in the intense orange earth against the clear Provence

skies. Always dissatisfied with his

efforts, CÉzanne struggled unceasingly to reveal the truths of nature. He made

many landscape paintings of the area where he lived and through them he

achieved great success even in his old age. Many of these landscapes like

"Route-Tournante" pulse and glow with his free and painstaking

analysis. Part of the vitality of this picture lies in the loose and patchy

technique The effect is particularly striking in the subtle greens of the trees

and the subtle earth tones. Part of the interest of lies in the balance he

creates between the abstract and the real. The forms of foliage, rocks and road

are so simplified and generalised that they appear almost abstract. But as they

dissolve into tonal marks we are still conscious of the reality of the scene,

the way the road twists out of sight past the rocks into a cool tree-filled

valley. His way of working is so

explicit; as we look at the surface of the picture we are aware of his every

brush mark, and we can imagine his subtle colour mixing and careful balancing

of colour and tone. He used colour not to fill in outlines, but, as a true

colourist used it to create forms. He believed that colour and line were

inseparable and interwove them, applying one over the other in his work. His

angled brush strokes set up a nervous sense of agitation in his late works like

"Route Tournante". This may be a combination of his irascible

temperament with an ageing painter’s awareness of the need to realise his

objectives while he still had time. CÉzanne was a great painter of

the immediate landscape of Provence around his home, often painting the view

seen from his studio. The quality of this landscape – the light, the colour of

the earth, the roll of the hills affects the way the artist reacts to it. Many

artists who work from landscape begin to identify with feelings that the

physical area arouses. One can argue that we are all affected by the physical

nature of the area where we live. In this sense was similar to many other

landscape artists, many of who have come to be associated with the place; Lowry

with the industrial North of England, Constable with Suffolk and Gauguin with

the South Seas. Since CÉzanne was interested in

nature, Paul went to the South of France. The way in which he painted light

inspired younger artists, such as Henri Matisse and Andre Derain, who searched

for similar ways to express themselves. In an abandoned quarry near

Aix-en-Provence, studied the huge, jagged rocks, and made this dramatic

composition, called Bibemus Quarry by contrasting sizes, shapes, and angles. The painting is a circular

composition. This is achieved by arranging rock shapes in a pattern. CÉzanne

has framed the painting using rocks. Large stones on the left and right guide

our eyes into the painting. The horizontal shelf in the middle leans towards a

wedge-shaped outcrop that sweeps upward. Soft green plants creep up the slope

to a tree on the horizon. The diagonal trunk of a tree cut off by the edge of

the painting takes us back along sharply tilted pocks to the middle of the

painting. Every stroke of his brush makes

the rocks look solid. He painted patches of red, brown, orange, and grey

side-by-side and created ‘weightless clouds’ in the hazy-looking sky with short

brushstrokes, in many shades of green and blue.

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