I Will Astonish Paris with an Apple

Still Life with Apples by Paul Cezanne, 1879.
Still Life with Apples by Paul Cezanne, 1879.

That’s a bold statement—even from Paul Cézanne—but the artist was true to his word. He set out to reinvigorate painting and he did just that. The French artist became the conduit between the Impressionist past and the Modernist future that was fully ushered in by the likes of Picasso and Matisse, both of whom revered Cézanne’s work. But the subject matter that propelled such success in the artist’s career was oftentimes relatively humble—still life paintings of apples, figures in the landscape, and kitchen scenes.

The power in Cézanne’s work is inextricably linked to his investigation of visual perception—how we see. His close ties and friendship with so many Impressionists made that search all but inevitable, and yet his painterly results were much more radical than his contemporaries. Impressionists dabbed with the brush, painting light reflections. Cezanne attacked the canvas with a palette knife, applying paint as if it was plaster, and viewed the structure and planes of objects as most compelling in relation to how we see mass. He continually searched for ways to capture form and perspective throughout his career.

Midday, L'Estaque by Paul Cezanne, c. 1880.
Midday, L’Estaque by Paul Cezanne, c. 1880.

Most of all though, Cézanne wanted to set the heart beating and blood flowing with his works, and make the paint bleed, as he said the Old Masters had first done. He wanted viewers to smell the fields he was painting in Provence, and sense the deep space and atmosphere of the mountain vistas that he took as his subject matter again and again. He loved sumptuous color and explored how patches of color, placed side by side, could create brilliant color effects.

Cézanne was foremost an artistic innovator, but his great impact was the result of simply recording the world as he saw it. We at Artist Daily are committed to honoring great artists of the past and seeing how contemporary artists will innovate and have influence well into the future. For those of who want to learn from Old and new masters alike and explore new ways of seeing just like Cézanne did, look to the many resources in the Chris Cozen Acrylic Color Exploration Value Pack. You’ll get never-ending inspiration and discover ways of working that can lead to astonishment and joy in your art, too. Enjoy!

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

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