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Paul Cézanne

An artist and thinker, Cezanne formulated the philosophical principles of painting and sought to convey the eternal laws of being through artistic means.  "By now several generations of painters have been nurtured on the three apples of Cezanne," the German artist Georg Gross was to exclaim at the dawn of the twentieth century.

In his early period Cezanne associated with the Impressionists and benefited much from his work with Camille Pissarro (Road in Pontoise, 1875). Yet he was not interested in the fleeting impressions to which the Impressionists attached so much importance and turned instead to the analysis of nature, looking for “something more constant and eternal, like the art in museums.”

After the Third Exhibition of Impressionists, at which his works were so harshly criticised, the disillusioned Cezanne left the south of France for Aix.  Convinced that he was on the right track, he stubbornly continued to work daily with “natural motifs”. "I wanted to copy nature, but did not manage to do so … The sun cannot be reproduced, but it can be represented ... with the help of paint," the master confessed.

In his pictures Cezanne consciously simplifies the form of objects, turning a house into a cube, and trees into cones and cylinders. In his still-life paintings ordinaryeveryday items such as a kettle, sugar bowl or table cloth acquire a monumental quality. "Treat nature in terms of a sphere, cone or cylinder ...  Lines       parallel to the horizon convey length; perpendicular lines suggest depth.” Cezanne followed his famous thesis not only in landscapes, but also when he was representing the human body. His bathers, billiard players and smokers are removed from the context of time and space and turned into the master’s reflections on the nature of human life. The essence of these images was summed up most aptly by Lionello Venturi. They are "individual as a portrait and universal as an idea". For Cezanne a real motif is always a pretext for showing the majestic processes of the geological structure of the world, which can be seen in his precise organisation of spatial distances and in his generalised  treatment of volume. The artist relies on our understanding of the fact Hi 11 i In whole visible world is the sum total of different embodiments of the same material substance, which is subject to the operation of universal laws.