Paul Cézanne

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Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne is one of the most important figures of modern painting; the art world refers to him as the ‘father of modern art.’ Cézanne ranks up with the greats including Titian, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt. Cézanne’s influence is so strong that he still inspires budding young artists even today. Cézanne’s strong altering painting style paved the way for 20th century abstract art; he was the bridge between the 19th century art world and the 20th century art world. He led the transition of art in between both centuries from Impressionism to a new form of Cubism. His work is instantly recognizable all over the world from London to Paris to New York and Munich. In every art gallery there is one work which stands out from the rest and that work belongs to Cézanne. Picasso famously stated ‘Cézanne is the father of us all.’

Paul Cézanne was born in 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, France into a wealthy middle-class family. Cézanne’s mother played an instrumental role in developing his zest for life – she was a free spirited romantic and Cézanne adopted these very similar traits into his personality. To an extent they also ended up appearing in some of his more subtle works as an artist. To keep his father happy Cézanne enrolled in Law school and simultaneously started taking art classes. Cézanne studied the works of the great after a move to Paris; it is there he finally decided to become an artist. Cézanne developed a serene style of analytical painting, for him an empty canvas was like a screen where he painted objects as he saw them in true light. This is why some of his paintings are quite intense, Cézanne didn’t believe in sugar coating objects; he painted them as he saw them – ugly or beautiful. Cézanne never left any portion of his canvas empty; he filled each and every single corner and kook as he considered it a travesty leaving empty bits on a canvas. His brushstrokes became so legendary that many people thought he was constructing a painting rather than painting it. Cézanne’s famous Table, Napkin and Fruit have all the hallmarks of a Cézanne classic. He had his own conventional approach to still-life painting; it was almost sculpture-like. In the painting pieces of fruit are scattered across the table along with a book and napkin. The way Cézanne has set the painting makes the viewer gain a proper vertical angle of the painting. The painting is thick in color and composition and Cézanne’s signature hard brush-strokes can be seen clearly on the canvas.

Another masterpiece of Cézanne is The Bridge at Maincy, deep in his rich personal style. The bridge is set against a deep green formulation of tree. Cézanne’s style makes it look as if the trees are in a state of maze-like overlapping. Since there is no clear separation between the trees they almost look like a deep green carpet engulfing the bridge. Cézanne took working as an artist very seriously, preferring to work in solitary confinement, working without interruption away from everyone and everything was a vital part of his creativity. It was just him and his painting at that moment and no one else, Cézanne would get absorbed in it. Little did Cézanne know that his style would result in a radical shift of the very definition of painting and carve a new era in the century to come.

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