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Paul Cezanne

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cezanne

Paul Cézanne

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Paul Cezanne was a post-impressionist painter who created the bridge between impressionism and cubism, and is said to be the artistic father of both Matisse and Picasso. Although he was dissuaded by his father at an early age to pursue his passions in painting, he left his hometown of Provence for Paris, in 1861. It was there that he met Camille Pisarro, a popular impressionist painter, who served as his mentor and guide. He began painting in the impressionistic style, but later began to structurally order what he saw and painted into simple forms and planes of color. He also began to simplify the forms he painted into shapes, such as a tree into a column. Unlike many of the painters of his day, who focused on one or maybe two subject styles, Cezanne concentrated on still lifes, portraits, landscapes, and nude studies.

He began slowly in Paris, as all of his submissions to the Paris Salon between the years of 1864 and 1869 went rejected. He finally successfully entered a submission into the Paris Salon in 1882, which was also his last. In 1895, there was an exhibition held of all of his own works, signifying his growing success as an artist, but that same year he moved back to his hometown of Provence, where he continued to work in isolation.

Cezanne was early depicted as a rude, shy, angry man, given to bouts of depression, and later in his life he withdrew into his paintings, spending long periods of time a recluse, painting in solitude. Although his paintings were not well-received by the public, who supposedly reacted with hilarity, outrage and sarcasm, and laughed at his art, young artists held him in high esteem, and often sought after him. Cezanne’s legacy is that he developed the practice of fracturing forms, which most immediately influenced the development of cubism, and later the foundation of modern art.

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Paul Cézanne (US: /seɪˈzæn/ or UK: /sɪˈzæn/; French: [pɔl sezan]; 19 January 1839 – 22 October 1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavor to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne's often repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne's intense study of his subjects.

Cézanne is said to have formed the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Both Matisse and Picasso are said to have remarked that Cézanne "is the father of us all."

The Cézannes came from the commune of Saint-Sauveur (Hautes-Alpes, Occitania). Paul Cézanne was born on 19 January 1839 in Aix-en-Provence. On 22 February, he was baptized in the Église de la Madeleine, with his grandmother and uncle Louis as godparents, and became a devout Catholic later in life. His father (1798–1886), a native of Saint-Zacharie (Var), was the co-founder of a banking firm (Banque Cézanne et Cabassol) that prospered throughout the artist's life, affording him financial security that was unavailable to most of his contemporaries and eventually resulting in a large inheritance.

His mother, Anne Elisabeth Honorine Aubert (1814–1897), was "vivacious and romantic, but quick to take offence". It was from her that Cézanne got his conception and vision of life. He also had two younger sisters, Marie and Rose, with whom he went to a primary school every day.

At the age of ten Cézanne entered the Saint Joseph school in Aix. In 1852 Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon (now Collège Mignet), where he became friends with Émile Zola, who was in a less advanced class, as well as Baptistin Baille—three friends who came to be known as "les trois inséparables" (the three inseparables). He stayed there for six years, though in the last two years he was a day scholar. In 1857, he began attending the Free Municipal School of Drawing in Aix, where he studied drawing under Joseph Gibert, a Spanish monk. From 1858 to 1861, complying with his father's wishes, Cézanne attended the law school of the University of Aix, while also receiving drawing lessons.

Going against the objections of his banker father, he committed himself to pursuing his artistic development and left Aix for Paris in 1861. He was strongly encouraged to make this decision by Zola, who was already living in the capital at the time. Eventually, his father reconciled with Cézanne and supported his choice of career. Cézanne later received an inheritance of 400,000 francs from his father, which rid him of all financial worries.

In Paris, Cézanne met the Impressionist Camille Pissarro. Initially the friendship formed in the mid-1860s between Pissarro and Cézanne was that of master and disciple, in which Pissarro exerted a formative influence on the younger artist. Over the course of the following decade their landscape painting excursions together, in Louveciennes and Pontoise, led to a collaborative working relationship between equals.

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