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Paul Cezanne

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PAUL CEZANNE Paul Cezanne was born in 1839 at Aix-en-Provence, a small town a few miles inland from Marseilles, in the south of France. His father was a prosperous hat retailer who later, in 1848 became proprietor of Aix's only bank. Paul's mother had been Louis-Auguste's mistress until they married in 1844 when Paul was five. Throughout his childhood, Cezanne lived in fear of his powerful, overbearing father. He grew up an angry, intense and unsociable man, whose only real attachment was to his art. At the age of 13, he became a boarder at Bourbon College in Aix. He was an excellent scholar and though not very sociable, formed some close friendships that were to last for most of his life. In their free time Cezanne and his friends swam and fished. These times remained his happiest memories, and the many bathing scenes in his later paintings are touched with nostalgia. ...read more.


His paintings in the 1860's mirror his inner turmoil: corpses, murders and orgies dominated his easle. Then, at the age of 30, he radically changed both his habits and his painting style. In 1869 he met a young model called Hortense Fiquet, who became his mistress. He turned increasingly to landscape subjects and started painting in the open air like the Impressionists. They were a group of French artists who revolutionised painting by their new ideas on the use of bold colour, expressive brushwork and working directly from nature in the open air. In 1872 Cezanne had a son but he remained so terrified of his own father that he did not dare tell the him he had a family. He therefore had to support Hortense and his son from his small allowance and this situation amazingly remained unchanged for years. When Cezanne was in Aix, he would lodge Hortense elsewhere. ...read more.


The theme of nudes in the landscape has a long history and many artists also did this. Cezanne was exceptionally reticent with the idea of using live models. In fact, he is only known to have worked directly from a model once during the time of these bathing paintings. His sources for his figures tended to be from past art. Either from his own student studies, or from Old Masters. Surprisingly, even these images were either copied from other artists or from sculptures. As he found it almost impossible to draw a live model, this reserve shows in his pictures of the bathers, particularly. Many of the figures are separated by contour lines and not one of them has a mouth. Even their eyes are obscure. lacks detail vibrant colours that I prefere there is no atmosphere to the piece one of many There are two 'Large Bathers' pictures. The largest, 7'x8' (208 x 250cms) is in Philadephia and the other 127 x 195cms is in the National Gallery, London. ...read more.

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