R911 – La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves, 1902-1906 (FWN352)
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Cézanne painted eleven versions of the Mont Ste-Victoire from near his studio in the Lauves section of Aix-en-Provence, each of which differs in minor ways in season and point of view, and each of which is a carefully composed portrayal of the mountain rising behind the plain that leads up to its foot. The crucial matter is that each is stylistically self-contained, testimony as much to the painter’s logic of organized representation as to the magnificence of the site. Rewald found several of Cézanne’s points of view in about 1935 and photographed them; they show a variety of foregrounds and scatterings of houses and groves of trees in the middle distance that Cézanne integrated into his compositions. Having the photograph in front of us, we can picture Cézanne’s intense attention to his motif, but it is each painting, its rhythms and its coherence, that matters . We may look at two versions more closely, in order to compare their touch and their color and try to discern how deeply they may reflect differences in what Cézanne observed as he changed his standpoint: the houses and trees in the foreground, the season and the weather. This comparison may serve as a model for the observer to look closely at the other versions.
In R911-FWN352 Cézanne painted a passionate vision of the mountain using a different system of patches for the foreground, middle ground, the mountain – and the violent sky. The touches of color are all closely connected, and one may reasonably suppose that it was their sharp, small size more that made the connections possible, and perhaps even necessary. While we have no evidence of the painting’s beginnings, we may be sure that the patches cannot have been parabolic; the site left no room for them. In this view there is a distinct middle ground, brilliant green in color with patches of straw yellow, which is divided from the bottom by the path and below which there is the little grove of trees; the two bands are separable both by line and by color. The composition, now divided into three distinct horizontal zones, would not accommodate broad, curved, unifying sweeps. Rather, the zone in the center needs to become a distinct middle ground, with its own calm touch — a vertical and horizontal one — which separates the emotional top from the dynamic bottom (the top and bottom being connected by their intense blues and violets). The mountain’s back would now be balanced by the path, which is only just suggested at bottom right in the black and white photograph but emphatically underlined in the painting.
(Voir le commentaire du second tableau ici)
Source: Machotka, Landscape into Art.