Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mountain men

The tiny ridge you can see here is Cezanne’s Montagne Saint Victoire near Aix-en-Provence. Even seen by the naked eye - far less an under-powered camera - the mountain is a good deal less imposing than the one Cezanne presented to the world. It’s disappointing really, until you start figuring out Cezanne’s transformations. 

By tilting up and flattening the foreground, while at the same time collapsing the middle ground and bringing the background forward, he influenced a whole generation of artists and gave modern art a good kick-start. Many years later, on the other side of the world, his revolutionary approach to pictorial construction continued to resonate. Toss Woollaston always had Erle Loran’s Cezanne’s composition: analysis of his form with diagrams and photographs of his motifs close at hand and his landscapes can be read in part as homages to the discoveries Cezanne made at the foot of Saint Victoire.