Cézanne – The eye and the mind

Pavel Machotka. Editions Crés 2008. English. 544 pages, 21.5 x 29.8 cm. 2,4 kg. Softcover in slipcase. 9782753700475. art-19835
was 50,00€ 20,00
This beautiful book presents a new perspective on Paul Cézanne, one of the towering and most influential figures of nineteenth-century art.

Pavel Machotka has photographed the sites of Cézanne's landscape paintings – whenever possible from the same spot and at the same time of day that Cézanne painted the scenes. Juxtaposing these color photographs with reproductions of the paintings, he offers a dazzling range of evidence to demonstrate how the great painter transformed nature into works of art. Machotka, himself an artist, moves from painting to painting, examining textures and surfaces, pictorial rhythms, and inflections of tone.

As he analyzes Cézanne's treatment of individual sites, their transposition into forms and colors, and the artist's responsiveness to the demands of each unique composition, we begin to see Cézanne as he saw himself: not as an early Cubist, but as a painter who explored every aspect of his motif for its rich compositional potential and presented a parallel and faithful conception of it. Using color to define form, while retaining hues that are anchored in reality, Cézanne achieved sensuous reconstructions, rather than intellectual depictions like those of the Cubists.

While there are other books on Cézanne's landscapes, none is as closely informed by painterly knowledge and perception or as complete in its grasp of Cézanne's period and geography as this one. A visual delight, it is also an illuminating and original interaction with the artist's work.