Cezanne's 7 Most Famous Paintings
Paul Cezanne influenced countless artists through many of his groundbreaking ideas and techniques, including simplification of the form into more basic geometric shapes, novel subject matter, and an innovative use of color. Many famous artists claim to be inspired and highly influenced by Cezanne, including Matisse and Picasso. He even managed to change the course of two whole art movements!
1. Mont St. Victoire
Cezanne’s Mont St. Victoire is a traditional landscape, yet completely revolutionary in technique. He takes impressionism to the extreme, with patches of color conveying the atmosphere of the mountainscape. In fact, in this painting Cezanne does amazing work portraying a thick atmosphere with the use of the blue-ish tint in the painting. Through Cezanne’s “impression” of Mont St Victoire, he moves towards a more architectural image, along with a flatter plane. This paves the way for the abstraction movement towards cubism.
is often considered his most important work, and is sometimes better
known for the work it inspired. Picasso’s Demoiselles D’Avignon takes
direct cues from this work through the grouping of nude women and their
stances. Cezanne's influence can also be seen in Matisse's La Danse.
This painting also reflects Cezanne’s struggle with his sexuality, and
his difficulty in achieving intimacy with women. The Philadelphia
Museum of Art bought the painting in 1937 for $110,000, where it now
3. Compotier, Pitcher, and Fruit
Cezanne painted many still lifes in his studio, and they often involved fruit and glassware. In this painting, we see how he uses color to create his objects, rather than line. The folded cloth on the table and in the background allowed Cezanne to play with texture and shadows. Cezanne was one of the first artists to abandon the use of realistic perspective, as seen in the way the fruit looks as though it might fall off the table.
Compotier, Pitcher, and Fruit (1892-94)
4. Apples and Oranges
Cezanne revolutionized the art industry through his use of still lifes as subject matter, which at the time was considered to be banal and trivial. Through paintings such as Apples and Oranges Cezanne carved out a niche in the art world. This painting also shows his movement toward geometrization of his subject matter, which works toward abstraction of the form. He also uses slight distortion of the plane. Together, this heavily influences artists such as Picasso and Braque to invent cubism.
The harlequin subject matter appearing in one of Cezanne’s great paintings, Harlequin, reappears quite famously in Picasso’s rose period. A great comparison can be seen here in Picasso's Harlequin Leaning on His Elbow. Cezanne’s painting foreshadows Picasso’s gloomy, “blue” mood.
6. Les grandes baigneuses
Bathing scenes were another of Cezanne’s main themes. His bathers are usually arranged in a wide variety of different positions, allowing him to paint the human body from all angles. In his paintings with multiple people, like this one, each bather somehow seems isolated and alone. He paints the figures with varying levels of detail, and some figures seem to blend into the background.
Les grandes baigneuses (1900-05)
7. The Lake at Annecy
Cezanne painted this work on holiday in the foothills of the French Alps. He initially resisted the temptation to paint the scene, as he thought it too trite and obvious. In the end, Cezanne painted this view from his hotel room and it has become one of his most famous works. His simplification of objects into geometric forms is evident here, as seen in the boxy buildings and the cylindrical tree.
The Lake at Annecy (1896)