Paul Cezanne was born at Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on January 19, 1839. Paul wanted to please his father, who didn’t think being an artist was a worthy profession, so he studied Business and Law from 1859 to 1861, but had no interest in either. He left for Paris to study painting and he soon became acquainted with the Impressionist, including Manet and Pissarro.

When Cezanne first began painting he followed the Impressionists’ fascination for showing shimmering light on a scene. But he wanted to turn Impressionism into a way not only of capturing a momentary appearance, but of making permanent the living character of the subject before him. He said he wanted to make impressionism something solid and durable.

Cezanne wanted to show nature as solid and monumental. He advised artists to look for “the cone, the sphere and the cylinder” in the shapes of things in nature. Before starting a painting he searched for each object’s basic form as well as how all the forms related to each other, then he put his brushstrokes together to show weight, volume and solidity.

When Cezanne first exhibited his art the public and critics didn’t like his work. Cezanne disliked city life and he withdrew more and more. He spent most of his life in southern France, where he liked to work in the clear crisp light, especially after a storm, when the air was very clean and distant mountains lost their pale blue haze.

He painted slowly and carefully, often reworking a canvas over a period of several years in strive to achieve the right color. Even Cézanne's pictures of people can be regarded as still lifes, because he demanded that his models sit absolutely still. Sitting for him was something of a nightmare as he was an extremely slow painter, probably the reason his subjects always look tired. Ambroise Vollard, the famous art dealer who arranged Cézanne's first one-man show of 150 of his works in 1889, posed 115 times for a single painting, sitting absolutely still "like an apple" and then Cézanne, dissatisfied, abandoned the picture with only two unpainted spots remaining. He told Vollard that with luck he would find the correct color and could finish the painting. "The prospect of this made me tremble," noted Vollard in his biography of the painter. In the artist's eye, there was no difference between a human sitter and a bowl of fruit, except that the reflection value and the palette were different.

In 1906 he wrote that though he was old and ill, he had sworn to himself that he would die painting. Shortly after, when caught in a storm while painting outdoors he collapsed, causing him to get a pneumonia, and a week later on October 22, 1906, Cezanne died.

The art of Paul Cezanne is considered today as being of enormous importance to the developoment of modern art. From his search for underlying structure of the composition came Cubism and then Abstraction. Cezanne's use of colour as tone and his obsession with the formal elements of composition made it possible for artists who came after to question what they saw and how they represented what they saw on their canvas.
 

MONT SAINT-VICTOIRE- This artist liked to spend a lot of time looking at his subjects, working and reworking his paintings before he was finished. Perhaps this is one of the reasons he liked to paint Mont Sainte-Victoire. The mountains, fields and trees didn’t move, and he could spend as long as he wanted creating all the underlying structure of the forms.


Cezanne painted the enormous profile of Mont Sainte-Victoire peaking majestically over the plains below. The mountain’s lonely grandeur is distant and light in color between the dark green of the trees, trees so close to the viewer that their lower trunks extend off the canvas itself.



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