This 1884 landscape is by French artist Paul Cézanne, certainly one of the greatest artists of the 19th century. Its title in French is Sous Bois - difficult to translate, but the meaning is close to “in the forest”. Cézanne was famous for very classical landscapes with a lot of structure, giving them an almost geometric appearance. Here, we see something completely different.
If you look at this painting carefully and try to identify every element, you can recognize a tree, a branch, even a leaf. It is very carefully detailed, not ’fuzzy’, like an Impressionist painting. There is still a sense of structure, order, form and shape, but uniquely it is much freer than most of Cézanne’s paintings.
Cézanne loved the hot, dry landscape of Provence in southern France. He once wrote, “Were it not that I am deeply in love with the landscape of my country, I should not be here.”
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