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Analyzing Paul Cezanne’s Post Impressionistic Painting Still Life With A Curtain

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Instead of being interested in the lighting and phenomenon of color, post impressionists move towards bright colors and sharp edges. The artists of the post impressionistic period chose not to work together because there work focused on what they each individually felt including theories, goals, and views of the world. I chose Paul Cezanne’s painting entitled “Still Life With a Curtain”, an oil on canvas that some consider one of his best and most influential still lives. When you look at this painting, I first notice the preservation and display of the bright colors, specifically the oranges and the flower pot. Even the off white table cloth which appears to be filthy contrasts with the other colors to make them seem even brighter.

Paul Cezanne was a french artist and post impressionist painter who helped transition to a new world of art in the 20th century. His brushstrokes are highly recognizable in the art world as was moving to explore new methods. Many artists take Cezanne’s final twenty years of his life being spent in the south of France as an inspiration, as if he gave everything up in the name of art. Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gaugine and vuillard are some of my personal favorite Post Impressionistic painters. I have chosen to write about Cezanne because I like the way he analyzes nature. Cezanne was never into the way impressionists tried to mimic the specific look and feel of nature, instead he was interested in still life’s. You can see is his later watercolors and landscapes the pattern of his brushstrokes always overlapping. This was a precursor to cubism. He insisted on personal expression through his art, which was a major part of the post impressionistic movement. He believed that there was a hidden order in nature and it could be displayed in a non traditional way, such as with a simple painting of fruit and a flower pot on a slanted table. Although his paintings remained to be abstract, you can still easily recognize the objects in them.

Although Cezanne’s piece “Still Life With A Curtain” and Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” seem to be very different from each other, they are from the same post impressionist period. Both pieces of art contain sharp edges, the use of bright colors, and a personal touch from the artist. Below, I have placed a picture of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” alongside Cezanne’s painting. Both Cezanne and Van Gogh worked with unique styles to show there own interests through their artwork. For example, you can sense Van Gogh’s love of religion and nature through his painting of Starry Night by the emotional swirls in the sky and by the size of the stars. When we see stars at night they are not that large, but Van Gogh evokes his emotions and love for the stars through the sheer size he paints them. We see them as tiny spots in the sky, but he views them as massive beautiful swirls of light. Invoking personal interests is an important part of post impressionism. Cezanne wanted to re-create the world in the way he sees it through his art, and he did this through his use of bright colors to give his the fruit in his painting a more round shape. Both artists took an interest in the Provencal countryside.

In both these paintings, I believe Cezanne and Van Gogh are attempting to show what they believe to be the hidden order of nature. They abandon the illusionist views of background and foreground and instead create there own idea of pictorial space. Although the paintings are seen as abstract, you can still clearly pick out the objects in the scenes. For example, you can clearly see that those are stars and a church in Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, and at the same time you can see that Cezanne is painting fruit on the table.

He is the father of modern art and lead the way for artists like Picasso to come along and flatten the picture plane out, which is what modernism is for many people, the move toward abstraction and flatness in a picture plane. He was interested in sacrificing illusionist flatness for a psychological depth. The paintings show a clear picture of C?zanne’s intense study of his subjects because of the great detail he goes into, but also his inner struggle with complicated field of human visual perception. Both artists are great examples of post impressionism and its move towards Cubism.

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