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Cézanne’s Painting

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 512
  • Category: Painting

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Even though the subject matter of both paintings is the same, the differences are extremely significant, especially in what concerns the modelling, the brushwork and the composition. Cézanne’s painting has no illusion of reality due to the easily detected brushwork, little sense of depth, and delineation of form. There is almost no three-dimensionality, an element crucial to the creation of illusion, whereas in Vecchio’s there are several elements that create an idea of reality, an idea that the scene before us is indeed happening: the strong light sources that apparently model the figures and other objects, the traceable vanishing point, which is almost impossible to detect in Cézanne’s Bathers, and the significant contrast between the darker and lighter areas. The density of the brushstrokes and the absence of details in Cézanne’s painting break the illusion of the visual effect created by the harmony of colours, whereas in the Bathing Nymphs there is no apparent trace of the brushwork. The lines that are used by Cézanne around the central figures, the bodies, have as function to distinguish these bodies from the background, another aspect that affects the creation of illusion, since these lines do not exist in the visible world.

In Vecchio’s there are no lines of this sort, and we distinguish each surface not for the separation created by the lines we see in the Bathers, but because their edges “create” shadows when they enter in touch. While in Vecchio’s painting there are different “layers” of elements that compose the depth of the image, in Cézanne the colours used are the only thing that creates depth, in a sense that the warmer colours at the front make this part appear closer to us than the background. However, the variations in tone are subtle, while Vecchio uses a vast palette of colours that allows us to distinguish each element of the composition clearly. In Cézanne, there are no individual forms modelled by light, which works in a way to push us further away from the idea that the objects in the painting may exist in space. Vecchio, on the other hand, uses light to evidence each of the women in his painting.

It is as if they were illuminated to stand out from the background. As for the background itself, Cézanne’s painting has no accurate depiction of what seems to be trees and clouds, elements that are clearly visible and distinguishable in Vecchio. One other point worth noticing is that the features of the figures in Vecchio are distinct and we can make out their expressions. In Cézanne there is no evidence of such, and the faces of the women seem void. Finally, the texture of the elements that compose the Bathers is practically inexistent, an aspect that confers a certain flatness to the image. Vecchio gives texture to every detail, being able to increase the illusion of reality. Overall, one can assert that Cézanne’s painting does not show the visible world in the same way as Vecchio, since the intentions behind each of them have very different purposes.

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