Paul Cezanne Art Style

I’ve generally thought that Cezanne’s paintings throughout most of his career have a detached and introverted quality to them.

From 1873 (pretty early), The House of the Hanged Man at Auvers:

What stands out to me is the layering of the painting, which is a very Cezannish quality. You want to enter the scene of the painting, but the foreground building really stops you in your tracks. I love that obstruction. Cezanne generally takes pains to make sure you know that you’re an intruder or voyeur. And that title!

From 1893 (mid-career, I suppose), The Card Players:

Not a single trace of interaction between any of the men in the painting. Each inhabits his own solitary world. Cezanne’s people are almost always stoic, and enduring.

From 1904 (so lateish), Grounds of the Chateau Noir:

Shoutout to my favorite Cezanne painting. My favorite aspect of Cezanne is how things are simultaneously layered and flat. There appears to be depth here, but there is no perspective. For me, I want to enter the painting (this picture doesn’t do it justice), but it’s ultimately impenetrable. The tendency towards geometric abstraction is also evident here. I always felt like Cezanne was trying to separate objects’ inherent reality from their sort of banal appearance. Like, this rock is what it is, and that’s it. Let me convey its pure rockness, and be sure to tell you that you are the one imposing on this rock by looking at it. This to me feels like a sort of detachedness, but that’s open to debate.In short, I would say Cezanne achieved these things in his landscapes by a flattening of perspective and a tendency towards geometric abstraction. Cezanne’s brush stroke is also really distinctive, and is a big part in how Cezanne achieved these things. In his paintings with humans, the subjects never interact with each other and tend to feel like inanimate objects themselves. It’d be great to hear from someone who knows about Cezanne’s still-lifes.


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