Paul CÚzanne and his paintings
CÚzanne was largely misunderstood during his lifetime. His radical departure from traditional modes of representation - the equivocal rendering of depth, thick application of paint, and violent subject matter - which marked his early period, was met with anger and derision. CÚzanne's works did not really gain recognition until only a couple of years prior to his death, when Ambroise Vollard - a famous French buyer, discovered him, and placed his works on exhibit for the general public to see.
Most of CÚzanne's artworks served as a tie between work which was being crafted during the close of the 19th century, and new forms which were emerging soon after his death. His pieces served as a link between the Fauvism and Cubist artists, and the works in which they created. His lack of regard for form, size, and color, and his vision of seeing objects from every which angle, showcased a new style that had never been created by artists during his time period. In fact, he was a leading figure in the eyes of various famous artists to come, including Picasso and Henri Matisse.
One of the main factors of CÚzanne's works was his manner in which he worked with color. Early in his career, many of the works which Paul CÚzanne created, focused on darker hues and color lines. CÚzanne's early work has previously been
called 'violent' in nature because of the hasty brush work. In the 1870s, CÚzanne was influenced by Impressionism. After working alongside Pissarro and spending time with
Claude Monet, his color palette brightened up and he began to work en plein air. Later on, he began to use natural light, and incorporated the different hues and angles in to the images which he
was capturing on the canvas. He ultimately came to regard form, light, and color as one, in the images which he would create. He found that these three aspects were inseparable, when it came to depicting an image, and that the human eye
actually sees these three things as one in the same when they look at a painting or sculpture work. Nonetheless after exhibiting with the Impressionists twice, CÚzanne ended his relationship with the group due to artistic differences.
Although CÚzanne stayed true to many of the forms and stylistic approaches in the impressionist movement, he found that the art form was not highly appreciated, and sought to change this aspect. When creating a painting, he looked at the canvas as the role on screen, and the artist would come in and recreate that role to make it his own. CÚzanne's pigments were applied to the canvas in a series of discrete and methodical brushstrokes, which were clearly recognizable as his work. Each picture he created, CÚzanne worked on as if he were creating or constructing the picture, rather than painting it. He remained true to constructing the underlying architectural aspect of each piece which he created. CÚzanne also found that every portion of the canvas, should somehow contribute to the overall integrity, and that no one piece of the canvas could stand on its own. The entire structure needed every other piece, in order for it to stand, and in order for the work to truly make sense.
Continuing on the concept of the canvas being a construction, even the most basic pieces he created, you could truly see the architectural integrity. Even if CÚzanne was painting an apple, or any simple figure, you could distinctly see the sculptural integrity, and could see it from every which angle you would look at the canvas from. It was as if every still life or portrait CÚzanne created, was examined from various angles, not just one. He would then recombine every aspect of that piece, to create the perfect structural abstract work. It was this analytical, and time based approach which Paul CÚzanne took, which soon led to the Cubism style, and introduced several new artists on to the scene.
Paul CÚzanne's painting heightens our awareness of pictorial form and structure as it articulates his outlook on the world. He conceived of painting as a way of realizing his sensation before nature and not as a problem in abstract composition. The subjective element of his painting was asserted as a way of seeing, rather than an imposition of mood. CÚzanne revealed how we come to see reality when the various schemata of vision and painting are rejected. At the same time he created a new unity and cohesiveness of composition by laying bare the elements of color relationships and space definitions. He bound color to structure, surface to depth, form to content, process to realized work. In so doing Paul CÚzanne evolved a new syntax for painting.
The legacy which Paul CÚzanne left behind, was one which was far greater than most other artists. Although CÚzanne was not respected, and not very well known during the course of his career, during the final few years, he became a leading and prominent figure in the art world, in the late 19th century. The richness and complexity of CÚzanne's art has evoked a wide range of interpretations which reflect most of the central intellectual and artistic concerns of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Influences of his style could be seen all the way in to the 1930s and 40s, which was nearly 60 years after he had passed away.
When we look at any of CÚzanne's masterpieces, it is impossible to view them, and not see the emergence of modern art popping on every canvas. The unique artistic approach, disregard to form of the human body, and distinct color and brushstrokes, were all unique and something that had never been done in the art world. CÚzanne had abandoned the rules of the academy, and taken on his own style, recreating what was known as impressionism art during his time period. His form, and distinct style not only gave way to new, modern styles, but also to great artists who followed him, and the work he did. CÚzanne is almost unique among nineteenth century painters in catalyzing both the most exacting formal analysis and psycho-analytical, existentialist, and phenomenological investigations, and it was CÚzanne who taught artists to liberate form from color, which created a new and subjective reality of the pictures, and art forms which they depicted on the canvas.
Paul CÚzanne was my one and only master.” - Pablo Picasso