Comparing two Cezanne paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire

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Compare and contrast Plate 1.3.20 ‘Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire with Large Pine, c. 1887, Courtauld’ with Plate 1.3.22 ‘Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire from Les Lauves, 1904-6, Kunstmuseum.

Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire with Large Pine and Mont Sainte-Victoire from Les Lauves, are both interesting pieces of art with their own unique style and technique. Plate 1.3.20 was painted 17 year earlier than Plate 1.3.22. Both paintings are similar in size and the artist used oil paint and canvas in both of these works. Another similarity is that both of the paintings depict the same landscape around the artist’s homeland.

The two most apparent differences between the paintings are in the use of colour and the technique. In Plate 1.3.20 Cézanne used a limited palette of green to yellows with a hint of orange and blue which suggest a warm climate with a sense of calm. The warmest colour is on the side of the mountain which is painted with a mix of different hues, assembled into a recognisable object. In Plate 1.3.20 Cézanne used strokes of dark colours mainly to outline forms like the tree trunk in black and the fields in dark blue.

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In Plate 1.3.22 Cézanne seemed to play with the colours more. He used more vivid colours with a greater contrast between the light and the dark hues. Different colours of green created a sense of depth which increases the painting’s three-dimensional effect. By using a lighter pallet Cézanne elevated the mountain which became the lightest area of the painting.  By eliminating its details, he gave it intensity almost equal to the foreground and emphasized its height. From a distance the background throws light into the grimmer foreground where the spectator almost feels the need to peek through the dark foreground ...

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