Paul Cezanne : Painting Overlapping Planes Creating Sense of Depth

Theme: Landscape Painting in Impressionist style. Painting the Density and Stability of Objects.

Landscape in the Ile de France -byPaul Cezanne

The Artist: Paul Cézanne, a French artist, was born on 19th January, 1839. He was among the artists whose identity came from the artworks done under the style of impressionism and cubism. More or less his pool of artworks can be termed as transition from the art of nineteenth century to twentieth. He had in fact opened the door for new artistic exploration. The artists like Matisse and Picasso followed the suit and kept the torch of new wave burning.

The Art: Cezanne had developed a typical style of painting. He would occupy himself in seeing the landscape and the natural forms of the objects. His imagination would then transfer these images into those shapes which would hold the geometrical essential of the original. But while doing so Cezanne would simplify the forms and make them more chewable by the eyes of the viewers. Thus it is easier to identify the paintings done by him at first sight.

Among other aspects, Cezanne's brush-work attracts our prime attention. The play of free and carefully attended work infuses essential beauty into paintings. On scrutiny of his artworks, we can observe his masterly touches. His paintings are rich with frequently shifting brushstrokes adding lyrical effects to a painting.

Cezanne's Technique: If we look at paintings of Paul Cezanne, we would see the importance of lining considerably reduced. It seems that the artist had done nothing to mark the lining that would separate one plane on canvas from another. Cezanne always used different shades of colours instead of lining. While creating required depth in painting, Cezanne would put overlapping objects. This arrangement would create convincing depth if executed by putting one horizontal band over another. Cezanne called his paintings as ‘compositions of planes’. Such a masterly execution would help recreating real beauty of landscape or other objects painted. If skilfully applied, such a technique would also give less stress to the eyes of viewers. Look at this painting 'Card Player'. We can see how the layers upon layers are arranged to create the four figures in the frame.
Cezanne believed that if ‘each side of an object is directed towards central point’, everything would be in proper perspective. An artist knows that all the lining work done parallel to horizon would create a feel of breadth in a painting. While generating a sense of depth in a painting, the use of perpendicular lining would help much. Cezanne had honoured these principles while doing his paintings. But instead of using lining to demark an object or a plane, he would use the different colour or a different shade of the same colour. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Painting of Still Life by Paul Cezanne

Cezanne's paintings were just like a bridge linking two great movements in the history of painting. Cezanne was attached with both the major artistic movements called impressionism and cubism. It was not a surprise that the painters like Metisse and Picasso used to say that “Cezanne is father of us all”. These painters were influenced by Cezanne's style.
Still Life

The paintings done in the styles of impressionism and Cubism, the colour compositions he applied, the draftsmanship he executed, and the masterly designs he drawn: these were the artistic aspects, which made Cezanne a resourceful artist. For other artists who followed the cubist style of paintings after him, Cezanne was the source of inspiration. His still life paintings, one of them shown above, are masterpieces of his time. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Theme: Still Life Painting with Watercolor

When artists chose to use watercolours, it is not the only reason that these colours are cheaper in price terms.

Still Life with Apples, a Bottle and a Milk Pot  by Paul Cezanne

The real reason to opt for watercolour painting lies in its ease and quickness of its application. You can use the watercolour even if you want to make some random sketches for developing them in final painting afterward. Apart from the luxury of having comfort in using the watercolours, these colours allow freedom to apply the transparent effects that is crucial in making a painting artistically valuable.

When an artist looks upon a scene, immediately a special kind of visual experience is generated in her or his mental sphere. If this experience is caught in colours within a short period of time, it can be recorded with more authenticity and liveliness. Here the artist needs a medium that can be applied with delicacy; watercolours provides the artists with such an opportunity where she or he can use brushes loaded wet colours and loaded with elegance. Such a facility, such a luxury is hardly available while using oil colours as the oil colours take its own time to dry.

But with these advantages are available in case of water colours; it is its specific disadvantages, too. If you commit any mistake, if any flaw is occurred while putting the watercolour on paper, there remain very few chances of rectifying such mistakes. It is nearly impossible to repaint the space that is once coloured by watercolour.

Before inventions of the modern techniques of preservation of the art pieces, the paintings done by water colours were comparatively perishable, as the watercolours are more vulnerable to the factors like sunlight, dust and dampness in the atmosphere. In some cases the contact with glass surfaces, too, act as enemies for the painting instead of being a friend. However since the modern technique for preserving the art works came in to use, the preservation of watercolour paintings has become easier one. Even the use of modern pigments also has helped making the watercolour painting long-lasting. (Image courtesy Wikimedia commons)
Cezanne's Landscapes: Look at the above landscape painting where Cezanne had executed his art of repetitive brush strokes. These brush strokes have not missed the sensitivity they wanted to inject in the painting. This type of works tells us about Cézanne’s passionate study of his the subject he chose to paint. The prime occupation of Paul Cezznne was to see the natural forms of the objects and landscapes. Thereafter he would try to simplify these forms into the shapes wearing their geometric essentials. Thus we can see fertility of Cezanne's imagination in his plantings.

The impressionist painter mainly engaged themselves with painting the changing moods of nature and shifting pattern of light and shadows. But Cezanne concentrated chiefly on capturing stability of the objects. He struggled to paint the density and solidity of forms. Other painters used the concept of showing of light for creating a feel of three-dimensional effect; Cezanne did the same task by putting contrasting colours side by side. In the above painting “Landscape in the Ile de France”, we can see his efforts to depict the solidity of the trees and other objects by using his brush strokes loaded with contrasting colours. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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