Paul Cezanne (1839 – 1906)

Originally written by Tola Makanjuola 12/11/17

I want to make of impressionism something solid and lasting like the art in the museums“.

Paul Cezanne, born on the 19th January, 1939 was a French post- impressionist painter.  Throughout his career, he focused on the subject matters of still lifes, portraits, landscapes and studies of bathers.

His early works dealt with the subject of landscapes with figures drawn from imagination within the frame, while his later works relied on direct observation.

As he matured as an artist, Cezanne became far more interested in representing nature in its simplest form of geometric composition i.e the cylinder, which represented a tree trunk, and the sphere, representing an apple/orange for example.  Additionally, he innovated in the area of visual perspective, giving the viewer an aesthetic experience of depth with was different from what had been idealised in the past.  

Cezanne was influenced by the ideas in Hippolyte Taine’s Berkelean Theory of Spatial Perception, as space and volume became defining themes within his work as well.

He had his detractors, some of whom were the bourgeois representatives of his hometown of Aix.  Nevertheless, he grew in recognition and financial prosperity even as he grew increasingly isolationist, working from his studio in the south of France.

Cezanne died on the 22nd of October, 1906 of pneumonia.  He is acknowledged as the artist that was the bridge between the 19th century’s concept of art to the radical artistic movements of the 20th century.  Both Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso remarked that “Cezanne is the father of us all“.

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