Four Stages in Cézanne's Career: This post is part of a series of four providing an overview of the development and change in Paul Cézanne’s approach to his landscapes from the 1860s to the early 1900s. Each part is concerned with a time period of approximately 10–12 years. Scholars have recognized each section and have named them for convenience of recognition.
Where? Barnes Foundation, Room 2, West Wall.
When? c. 1885
Medium and size? Oil on canvas, 65.0 x 100.3 cm.
What do you see? A horizontal view of the city of Gardanne in Southern France. The panoramic view is controlled by the use of blue/gray tones to collect and join each building block of the painting. There are squares and rectangles that build the scene, creating the illusion of distance and leading the eye upward to the highest point where the important bell tower has been positioned in the center of the work.
The trees and greenery form their own shapes that give more cohesiveness to the buildings. The outline strokes and the shadows delineate the red roofs and gently lead the eye up the hill. On the right-hand side, just above the top of the hill, are two towers that may be from factories beyond. There is an architectural feel to the painting, but the warmth of the colors dispels any coldness. The scene appears to lean slightly toward the left, which may add further interest to the whole.