Did you know Cezanne died of pneumonia? And more importantly, do you know why this sad intro is so relevant?
After working on one of his paintings in some field, in beautiful France, Cezanne refused to leave when it started pouring rain. In fact, he continued to work for a few hours, until he collapsed on his way home.
Sadly, the next day he died.
Paul Cezanne is probably best known as one of the modern founders of modernism, or at least the transitory link between Post-Impressionism to Modernism.
His paintings are symbols of modernist genius, but also a tinge of insanity or some weird mental disease. I am going to guess bipolar not because it is true, but because it is the hip thing to suffer from if you are artsy.
Whatever the case may be, I mean look at his vivacious brushwork, not only is it genius but it alludes to a man who is not only a born talent but who, frankly, does not really care.
It is perhaps this weird combination which has led him to be seen as a painter who wanted to mold the old and the new. Although, he wanted to keep his grip around Impressionism, he also wanted to introduce elements of classics into his work.
And when I say classicism, I don’t mean any of the Pre-Raphaelite stuff. What I am referring to is old classical Enlightenment paintings, things that you would see when you take a casual stroll to the Louvre or Versailles.
Moreover, he believed that the simplification of the natural world was best when painting. I mean he was still an Impressionist, let us not forget!
Next time you are at a cocktail, posh, hipster party remember to talk about Cezanne’s vivacious brush strokes which help propel the cubist tendencies of Picasso decades later. You will look educated.
Published in The Art of Polemics, Issue 1, on June 18th, 2014.