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Paul Cezanne Essay

1209 words - 5 pages

Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was an enigma, a man caught between struggling with the need to express his unique talents while endeavoring to conform to his era’s expectations of mode and structure. His paintings reflect his inner battle to fit the Impressionist status quo, while attempting to give birth to his own style and what would later become considered Cubism. His early works reflect his self-doubt with dark pigment and the use of provocative subject matter to draw attention to his art.
After becoming Camille Pissarro’s pupil, he became influenced by the popular Impressionist movement and brightened up his work with confident strokes, vibrant color and primal landscapes, though ...view middle of the document...

Seeking isolation and inspiration, he moved back to his home in Aix, where he would remain until his death.
His paintings from this early era reflect his brooding and melancholy attitude. Most are centered on macabre and controversial subject matter. For example, the morbid Washing of a Corpse and the grisly The Murder. Even though his paintings are dark literally and figuratively, there is energy present on the canvas that cannot be denied. Pissarro played upon this visual vigor and molded Cézanne into an Impressionist painter. They began to work together in the French country side, painting landscapes with the newly popularized techniques for outdoor light and convinced him to use brighter color schemes (Allen). Pissarro provided the moral and professional support Cezanne needed to grow and gain recognition. The results from his advisement led to the work Cézanne is known for today, beautiful mountainsides, pastel hued forests and energetic still-lifes.
Cézanne was constantly seeking new ways of handling form and perspective. In many of his canvases he succeeded in creating a new sense of space. While looking at his work, one feels as if they cannot find their place in the scene, a feeling of floating and a confusion of angles is achieved. Pissarro once posed these questions in reference to Cézanne’s works,
“Is there a landscape, try and figure out where you are sitting. Are you sitting on the edge of the wall? Are you falling off the side of the path? It is not so dramatic that it gives you a sense of vertigo, but still, it is completely incomprehensible, it is a sense of being above the void!”(Rewald 56).
The use of perpendicular leading lines gives the observers eyes exercise, pulling ones focus from corner to corner of the canvas. Flowers in a Vase and the second production of Still Life with Plaster Cupid are prime examples of his abstract leading lines. Another telling attribute of Cézanne’s originality is his use of the palette knife as a painting tool. We can visually watch his confidence and perfectionism bloom through his directing of this blunt object. The scenes become less real, but are filled with more immediate expression and attention to stroke placement. His fourth Self Portrait is a choice depiction of this painting mode.
Though Cézanne eventually gained the rank of master of his art, he was still unsatisfied with his own work. This sense of failure caused eccentric and obsessive behavior. He would leave works unfinished, sometimes violently destroy portraits while the subject was present...

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