Saturday, 17 March 2012

Paul Cezanne - First draft

Paul Cezanne
In the late 19th century, Paul Cezanne, a French oil painter, became the first artist of his generation to deliberately and successfully break away from Impressionism. Cezanne was a forerunner to the Cubism of Picasso, and his work became a catalyst for the abstract art of the 20th century. He died in the autumn of 1906, he avoided contact with the influential personalities of the contemporary art scene, that’s why he was, a famous unknown.

Cezanne’s theories were important for groups later known as the fauves ( wild beasts) and the cubists who made Cezanne’s discoveries their own and developed them further.
Often called the father of modern art, for his revolutionary use of flattened perspective, carefully structures compositions, and his signature technique of painting with patches of color. Also the way that he used palette knife technique and evolved of putting down on canvas exactly what his eye saw in nature and for the qualities of pictorial form that he achieved through a unique treatment of space, mass, and color.

During the greater part of his own lifetime, Cezanne woked at the height of his powers. He was largely ignored, and rejected by the official paris salon in 1870 because his work was radically different from that of his contemporaries, so he worked in isolation. He mistrusted critics, had few friends, and, until 1895, exhibited only occasionally. He was alienated even from his family, who found his behavior peculiar and failed to appreciate his revolutionary art.

Cezanne was placed at the top of a diagrammatic analysis of the unfluences of various modern movements, with direct lines between him and both Fauvism and Cubism.
And, with his linear , paraller burshwork and his direct sketching onto the canvas, creating works that often appear unfinished in any conventional sense, lies between  the two: this explanation will consider him in light of the assertion that he was the father of modern art , or a catalyst for the art of the avant-garde.

Besides, he was seeking not to replicate the superficial appearance of the landscape but to express what he described as a “ harmony paraller with nature “ through a new language of painting. And indeed the great figural works of his last years reveal curious distortions that seem to have been dictated by the rigor of the system of color modulation he imposed on his own representations.

Many of Cezanne's early works were painted in dark tones applied with heavy, fluid pigment, suggesting the moody, romantic expressionism of previous generations.  And he used  small geometrical shapes and varied brushstrokes delineate elements.
Also, he gradually developed a commitment to the representation of contemporary life, painting the world he observed without concern for thematic idealization or stylistic affectation. Cezanne was introduced to the new impressionist technique for rendering outdoor light. Along with the painter Claude Monet and a few others, they had developed a painting style that involved working outdoors (en plein air) rapidly and on a reduced scale, employing small touches of pure color, generally without the use of preparatory sketches or linear outlines.
“ No painting done indoors, in the studio, will ever be as good as anything done in the open Air “
They  hoped to capture the most transient natural effects as well as their own passing emotional states as the artists stood before nature. And within a very short time during , Cezanne shifted from dark tones to bright hues and began to concentrate on scenes of farmland and rural villages. Another technique was used in the Landscape paintings was the “overlapping”  which is a term that can be dissolve into another in Cezanne’s landscapes and to the way that the forms are broken up and shifted apart as a means of abstraction in Cubism.

o   Self portraits :

The first to begin with, during the middle years of 1890s Cezanne painted his only self portrait , his interest in depicting his own appearance was ongoing and continuos.
The artist’s psyche at that time
The astonishingly communicative eyes, gazing out at the viewer with tremendous intensity simultaneiously challenge and inquire but at the same time establish distance.
This penetrating, albeit slightly anxious gaze is heightened by the sharp bend of the eye brows and especially by the pointed  S-curve over the right eye which tends the entire face a troubled expression.  The water color portrait represents a culmination revealing as it did all the facets of his contradictory personality.
There are four categories for Cenzanne’s self portraits, the total is 25 self portraits :
·         12 of them , has a small scale, shows only his head, often turned sharply over his shoulder .
·         11 of them , may be described as busts
·          One of them is a three-quarter view ( painted after a photograph )
·         Finally the principal work in this genre is the present painting , the largest of the entire group and only one which Cezanne depicts himself explicitly as an artist.

o   Still life :
Cezanne’s still lifes of the 1860s revealed a comparable search to impose abstract principles of  formal design upon the most ordinary things.
For his Art work “ still life with skull and candlestick “ he portrays the traditional objects such as a skull with its lower jaw missing which was a feature incidentally of almost all of his skulls,  a dying rose with a broken stem, and the open book with illegible script  were long established symbols of transience in european still life painting. It was a  technique so brutal as to redouble the morbid symbolism of the theme.
Cezzane did not devote a series of works to the skull motif until shortly before 1900, in the intervening years, the subject was little interest to him. The death of his mother and the awareness of his own advancing age once again brought this theme to the fore.


  1. Very good start!!
    However, the hypertext is not readable (too dark)
    You have done a lot of work. You need to start putting the in-text references and the bibliography. The videos have to be linked to the essay document so that your text becomes more interactive.

  2. I have read your essay, but I need to see it with the in-text references.
    It will be interesting to investigate more how was Cezanne's work received at his time. For example, how did the famous French writer Emile Zola and the artist's childhood friend present him in one of his novels.