An insight into Cezanne’s influence on the transition of Impressionism into art which conveyed the essence of the subject and which, ultimately paved the way toward modern art. The lecture is presented to coincide with the opening of the Tate Modern EY Exhibition: Cezanne on 5th October 2022 – 12th March 2023.
Cézanne is renowned as the great 19th-century painter of still lives and bathers, French peasants and the Mont Sainte-Victoire, working in the most traditional of genres, from landscape to portraiture. But in his work of the 1880s, ‘90s and early 1900s, he began a revolution in painting, creating what the art historian Ernst Gombrich called ‘a landslide in art’. His ever-more courageous, ‘modern’ mode of painting – which insisted on conveying the essence of a subject rather than its mere ‘impression’ – showed a radical disregard for the realism dominant since the Renaissance and pointed the way to the increasingly abstract experiments of the 20th century. But how was it that a reclusive, deeply devout anti-modernist came to be the founder of modern art, a towering figure described by Matisse as ‘the father of us all’? And where is his influence still in evidence today?