Paul Cezanne
By Denise Jackson
Paul Cezanne was
born in a French town
in 1839. To show his
love for nature, he
painted things in a way
that had never been
seen before. Cezanne
shocked people with
his new ideas and
changed the history of
art forever!
People were shocked with Paul’s art because they thought his
paintings looked too flat. They were used to paintings that showed
lots of perspective – the feeling of distance and space. Paul thought
that since the surface of a painting was flat, it made sense to paint
objects so that they fit better on a flat surface. He didn’t think
perspective was always necessary to show the beauty of nature.
Sometimes Cezanne would show several different views in one painting. In Still Life
with Fruit Basket, you can see the side of the fruit basket at the same time you’re
looking at the top of the ginger jar next to it. The left part of the table is lower and
more tilted than the right side. He did this to make your eye move from the front to the
back and all around the painting as a way of giving it depth without using a lot of
perspective.
Cezanne also used lots of color, building up shapes and
objects to make them feel solid. In some of his paintings,
even the people seem like they’re chiseled out of stone or
carved out of clay. Using colors this way was another new
idea of Paul’s.
Cezanne came from a wealthy
family. His father was very strict.
Paul only had a few friends while he
was growing up. His father never
gave Cezanne much encouragement,
and when Paul graduated from high
school and wanted to study art his
father gave him a hard time. His
father wanted him to be a lawyer.
Even though Paul’s father didn’t
think much of artists he did allow
Paul to paint his portrait and paint
murals on the walls of their home.
To please his father, Paul studied Law and worked at his father
bank. He spent as much of his spare time as he could taking art
classes. Finally Cezanne’s mother convince his father to let him
study in Paris, France. It was were all the great artists went to study
art and sell their work. Paul’s father finally agreed and gave him a
weekly allowance to live on, while in Paris.
The Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David
When Paul arrived in Paris he found an art studio to study in. It was filled with
many young artists, most of whom were happy to paint in the accepted style of
the day. This style was pretty realistic looking, with dark color and carefully
drawn figures. This was the type of painting that was selected by the Salon, the
most important art show in France. Cezanne began painting in this style, but got
restless doing the same old thing. The Salon did not accept any of Paul’s
paintings.
Paul Cezanne was ready to give up,
but fortunately there were some other
art students looking for new ways to
paint things. They were Claude
Monet and Camille Pissaro and they
showed Paul how much more fun it
was to paint outdoors than in a dark,
stuffy studio. They showed Cezanne
how they used lots of bright,
beautiful colors to show nature. Paul
liked these new ideas and began
spending a lot of time outdoors. He
worked side by side with Pissaro,
who turned out to be a great teacher.
Monet and Pissarro were part of
a group of artists who became
known as the Impressionists.
The Impressionists invited Paul
to join them in an exhibit they
were having. It turned out to be
a big flop. People thought the
paintings look unfinished.
They didn’t like the scenes
about everyday life. But the
paintings they disliked the most
were Cezanne’s. Paul was so
insulted that he decided to leave
Paris and return home to paint
pictures the way he thought
they should be done. Paul no
longer cared what anyone
thought.
Paul began working harder than ever to express his deepest feelings,
with simple, solid shapes and beautiful colors. It was during this time
that Cezanne created his greatest works of art.
He always worked very
slowly and carefully. Paul
made his art dealer,
Ambroise Vollard, sit 115
times for this portrait!
Cezanne insisted that
Ambroise sit perfectly still,
and had a fit if he moved
even an inch.
Paul Cezzane gave as much attention to the backgrounds and space
around objects in his paintings as he did to the main subject. He
wanted every square inch on the surface of his canvas to be as
balanced and perfect as possible.
During Paul’s life, hardly anyone noticed or cared about his paintings.
Only a few people, including Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir,
Camille Pissarro, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh,
and Paul Gauguin, realized what an important artists Cezanne was.
Many of these soon-to-be-famous artists felt that Paul Cezanne may
have been the greatest of them all.
Paul Cezanne died in
1906. His paintings
mattered more to him
than anything else in the
world. He created a
new and different kind
of beauty in his artwork
that influenced almost
every who came after
him.
Bibliography
Getting to Know the World’s Greatest
Artists: Paul Cezanne by Mike Venezia
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Paul Cezanne - Mrs. Jackson`s Art Room