Paul Cezanne Essay Research Paper The Life

Paul Cezanne Essay, Research Paper

The Life of Paul Cezanne

by Inna Sokolyanskaya

Paul Cezanne was born on January 19, 1839, in the Aix-en-Province,

located in the Southern part of France. Due to his father s job as a local

banker, and before this a local import and exporter in the area, Cezanne s

family was considered upper middle class. Their rich lifestyle made them

unpopular with the local community, who thought of them as sly and selfish.

For a short while, Cezanne was convinced by his father to pursue a career in

law. However, by 1959, he had decided against pursuing a career in either

of his fathers interests. Instead, his life would be art.

As a youth, Paul Cezanne spent much of his childhood growing up in

the quiet, isolated town of Aix. In this small rural town, he enjoyed

spending his afternoons swimming and playing with his friends. Cezanne

had one extremely devoted friend, Emile Zola, whom he was to know

throughout life. As teenagers and later on adults, these two boys

experienced a friendship that became intimate and moving, as well as rival

and bitter. For the early parts of their careers, the two often had to

encourage one another because there were many times when they

experienced moments of depression and self-doubt.

Characteristics typical of C zanne’s early works were colors in dark

shades and the use of heavy, fluid paints. These touches gave his works

the looks of Romantic paintings, which were characterized by a highly

imaginative and subjective approach. Gradually, Cezanne changed his

style. He decided to portray the things in everyday life as they really were.

In other words, he began to paint the objects he observed without being

interested in thematic perfection.

A major event in Cezanne s life that influenced his most well known

works was his encounter with Camille Pissarro, an older painter who

produced paintings of many quiet rural landscapes and river scenes. This

man was truly Cezanne s motivation. As one of Cezanne s closest friends,

Pissarro provided the support and moral encouragement that he often

needed to continue creating beautiful art. In addition, Pissarro introduced

him to the new impressionist technique for depicting outdoor light.

Other painters, such as Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir, soon

began to paint with Cezanne and Pissarro. Together they developed a

painting style that was called en plein air. This technique involved painting

outdoors, swiftly and on a reduced scale, using only small touches of pure

color. Usually, all of this would be done without the help of preparatory

sketches or linear outlines. Under Pissarro’s guardianship, C zanne shifted

from dark tones to bright hues and began to focus on scenes of farmland and

rural villages from the years 1872-1873.

Along with the other impressionists, Cezanne exhibited his work in

1874 and 1877. Unfortunately, the impressionists did not have much

success, and C zanne’s work was harshly criticized. Devastated and

depressed from the results, Cezanne decided to get away from Parisian life.

In the late 1870 s and 1880 s, he became isolated artist, not painting in the

heart of Paris, but in the grasslands of Southern France.

To make matters worse, Cezanne s father passed away in 1886.

Although Cezanne inherited a grand fortune, another incident brought a new

cloud into his life later that year His life long friend Zola published an

article that deeply offended Cezanne by indirectly discussing his failures. As

a result, Cezanne broke off relations with his oldest supporter. All of these

sad events, combined with Cezanne s isolation from the world and

determination to continue to paint, influenced the remarkable development

he maintained during the 1880s and ’90s.

During this period, the beauty of nature continued to be the object of

Cezanne s paintings. He enjoyed the splendor of the Mont Sainte-Victoire,

which he painted many times from his studio looking across the intervening

valley. In addition to this, he concentrated on still lifes of studio objects

built around such recurring items as apples, statues, and tablecloths. He

painted studies of bathers, usually of males, while using a combination of

memory, earlier studies, and sources in the art of the past to complete his


The strokes of paint used to create these masterpieces were of

brilliant impressionist colors. Gradually, Cezanne reduced his application

of the paint to the point where it was possible for him to depict volumetric

forms with continuous strokes of pure color. At this time, critics began to

notice his work, arguing that he had discovered a means of portraying both

nature’s light and nature’s form by applying color only once. To Cezanne,

the key to producing realistic, expressive impressionistic art lay in the use of


Cezanne never felt truly comfortable about his life or his art. He often

stated that “life is fearful”, and that his life had been full of the threat of this

reality. He believed that he had responded weakly, and that his

achievements both financially and socially were the work of others on his

behalf. Cezanne was also upset about his failure of rendering the human

figure, and destroyed many of his works.

In the later years of his life, Cezanne tried to keep himself busy by

painting and trying to avoid the busyness of Paris. He enjoyed going for long

walks in the countryside, and entertaining guests over dinner. However, these

joyous times did not last. During 1906, Aix was hit with severe heat waves,

and Cezanne found it extremely difficult to work under such conditions. In

October of that year, Cezanne was caught in the rain for over two hours.

When he arrived home he collapsed from fatigue. A few days later on

October 22, 1906, Paul Cezanne died.

All in all, Paul Cezanne was an artist who influenced the early part of

the modern art era. His work and his life have become a symbol of inspiration

for the average painter. Cezanne is considered to be one of this centuries

greatest art masters. He influenced some of the 20th centuries-greatest artists,

including Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. It is no wonder that he has been

given the name father of modern art .


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