The Man Who Inspired Picasso: Who Was The Real Cézanne? | Great Artists Impressionists | Perspective

30 Mar 202347:20

TLDRPaul Cézanne, a pivotal figure in the transition from Impressionism to Post-Impressionism, is celebrated for his unique artistic vision that inspired 20th-century modern painting. Despite a lifetime of critical scorn and personal turmoil, Cézanne's dedication to capturing the underlying structure of nature led to revolutionary techniques like multiple perspective and geometric simplification. His legacy, now recognized for laying the groundwork for Cubism and abstract art, attests to his profound impact on the art world.


  • 🎨 Paul Cézanne was a pivotal figure in the transition from Impressionism to Post-Impressionism, and is now recognized as the father of modern painting.
  • 🏞️ Cézanne's early work was characterized by dark themes and a brooding, complex personality that often led to conflicts with contemporaries and critics.
  • 🌄 His fascination with the landscape of his native Provence, particularly Mont Sainte-Victoire, inspired some of his greatest landscape paintings.
  • 🖌️ Cézanne's artistic vision involved a unique interpretation of the external world, focusing on form, structure, and color to create depth and dimensionality on a two-dimensional canvas.
  • 📈 Despite a lack of recognition and harsh criticism during his lifetime, Cézanne's work began to gain acclaim after his death, particularly following a retrospective exhibition in 1907.
  • 💡 His innovative approach to painting, such as the use of multiple perspectives and geometric constructions, inspired major 20th-century artists like Picasso and Braque.
  • 👨‍👩‍👦 Cézanne's personal life was marked by difficulty, including a strained relationship with his father and a solitary existence that was consumed by his art.
  • 🌈 His later works show a shift towards lighter palettes and more controlled, intellectual compositions, reflecting a maturity in both his technique and artistic philosophy.
  • 📞 Cézanne's relationship with the influential writer Emile Zola was significant, though it ended tragically due to Zola's portrayal of a character based on Cézanne in his novel 'L'Oeuvre'.
  • 💰 In the 20th century, Cézanne's paintings gained immense value, both artistically and financially, with individual works selling for millions of pounds.

Q & A

  • What was the significance of the 1874 exhibition in Paris for Impressionists?

    -The 1874 exhibition in Paris marked an artistic revolution, serving as the first public display of Impressionist artwork. Despite receiving harsh criticism and being condemned by the critics, this event signaled a major shift in the art world and began the movement that would be known as Impressionism.

  • How did Paul Cézanne's work differ from his Impressionist contemporaries by 1874?

    -By 1874, Paul Cézanne had already begun transitioning from Impressionism to Post-Impressionism, pursuing a unique artistic vision that focused more on form and the structure of painting, which eventually influenced many 20th century artists.

  • What impact did the 1907 retrospective exhibition have on artists like Picasso and Georges Braque?

    -The 1907 retrospective exhibition of Paul Cézanne's work in Paris had a profound impact on artists like Picasso and Georges Braque. It inspired them to focus on the form and structure of their artworks, influencing the development of Cubism.

  • What were some personal challenges Paul Cézanne faced throughout his life?

    -Paul Cézanne faced several personal challenges, including his difficulty in relating to others and his complex, tormented personality. He was also self-centered, struggled with his father's dominance, and had a solitary nature that isolated him from the broader art community.

  • How did Cézanne's relationship with his father influence his artistic journey?

    -Cézanne's relationship with his father, who was a wealthy banker and wanted Cézanne to pursue a career in banking, was strained. However, eventually, his father allowed him a small allowance to pursue art in Paris, though his skepticism and control over Cézanne's finances continued to affect him.

  • What was the nature of Cézanne's relationship with the artist Camille Pissarro?

    -Camille Pissarro played a mentor-like role in Paul Cézanne's life, particularly when Cézanne moved to Pontoise. Pissarro's influence helped Cézanne develop his technique and adopt elements of Impressionism, such as lighter palettes and shorter brush strokes.

  • Describe the evolution of Cézanne's painting style over the years.

    -Cézanne's painting style evolved from dark, romantic influences with thick paint in his early years to a more structured approach using color to convey depth and form. His later works emphasized geometric forms and a flat depiction of space, which were foundational for the development of modern art.

  • How did Paul Cézanne influence the direction of modern art?

    -Paul Cézanne is considered the father of modern painting because his techniques and approaches, like creating depth through color and breaking down objects into geometric shapes, paved the way for future art movements such as Cubism.

  • What were the critical reactions to Cézanne's work during his lifetime?

    -During his lifetime, Cézanne's work was often misunderstood and rejected by critics, especially at the early Impressionist exhibitions. His work was seen as radical, poorly constructed, and even ridiculed, which caused him much personal anguish.

  • What legacy did Paul Cézanne leave in the art world after his death?

    -After his death, Cézanne's art was increasingly appreciated and became highly influential in shaping the course of 20th-century art. His techniques and artistic philosophy significantly influenced artists like Picasso, leading to the development of Cubism and other modern art movements.



🎨 The Artistic Revolution and Early Struggles of Paul Cézanne

This paragraph introduces the viewer to the first exhibition of Impressionist artists in Paris in 1874, highlighting the public and critical backlash these artists faced. It focuses on Paul Cézanne, a post-Impressionist painter who would later be recognized as the father of modern painting. The summary outlines Cézanne's complex personality, his difficulty in relating to others, and his unique artistic vision. It also mentions his early influences, including the landscape of his native Provence and the towering Mont Sainte-Victoire, which he painted throughout his life. The paragraph touches on Cézanne's strained relationship with his father and his initial failures in the Parisian art scene, setting the stage for his later development as an artist.


🏙️ Cézanne's Time in Paris and Encounters with Other Artists

This paragraph delves into Cézanne's experiences in Paris, where he struggled to fit into the sophisticated city environment and was rejected from the official School of Fine Art. Despite these setbacks, Cézanne's admiration for the works of realist painters like Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet, as well as his appreciation for the masterpieces in the Louvre, fueled his artistic growth. The summary highlights Cézanne's participation in the Café Guerbo, where he met fellow Impressionists like Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. It also discusses the challenges Cézanne faced in gaining recognition for his early works, which were often dark and brooding, and his contentious relationship with the Paris Salon due to his unconventional submission practices.


🌄 Cézanne's Evolution as a Landscape Painter

The paragraph discusses Cézanne's development as a landscape painter, beginning with his move to the coastal town of L'Estaque during the Franco-Prussian War. Here, Cézanne's art began to change, as he explored the genre of landscape painting and incorporated a lighter approach into his work. The summary notes the influence of Camille Pissarro, who Cézanne admired and learned from, leading to the adoption of impressionist techniques such as short brush strokes and a lighter color palette. It also touches on Cézanne's personal life, including his relationship with his mistress Hortense Fiquet and the birth of their son, as well as his ongoing financial dependence on his father.


🖼️ Cézanne's Struggles with Criticism and the Impact of Zola's Novel

This paragraph focuses on the critical reception of Cézanne's work, particularly his participation in the 1874 Impressionist exhibition where his paintings received severe criticism. The summary describes the challenges Cézanne faced in gaining recognition for his unconventional approach to art, and how the negative reviews affected him personally. It also discusses the complex relationship between Cézanne and his friend Émile Zola, who was a successful literary figure but whose support for Cézanne's work was qualified and sometimes hurtful. The paragraph culminates in the fallout between the two friends after Zola published a novel featuring a character based on Cézanne, which the artist saw as a betrayal.


🎭 Cézanne's Self-Portraits and Pursuit of Artistic Vision

The paragraph examines Cézanne's self-portraits, which are noted for their lack of psychological insight, and explores the artist's emotional state during the period they were created. The summary highlights Cézanne's deep unhappiness and his withdrawn nature, particularly in contrast to his successful friend Zola. It also discusses Cézanne's artistic philosophy, which involved a focus on constructing paintings through color and brushwork rather than traditional perspective. The paragraph emphasizes Cézanne's desire to create contemporary work that could stand alongside the masterpieces of the past, and his innovative approach to depicting space and the spatial relationships between objects in his paintings.


🌈 Cézanne's Mastery of Flat Depth and Influence on Modern Art

This paragraph discusses Cézanne's development of the flat depth technique, which involved using color and brushstrokes to convey a sense of depth on a two-dimensional canvas. The summary outlines how Cézanne's approach to painting was a departure from the traditional Renaissance perspective and how it laid the groundwork for modern art. It highlights the influence of the Old Masters on Cézanne and his ambition to create work that could be considered on par with these historical artists. The paragraph also touches on Cézanne's later years, during which he gained some recognition for his work, and the evolution of his painting style, which increasingly focused on the geometric forms underlying natural objects.


🖌️ Cézanne's Later Portraits and Still Life Paintings

The paragraph explores Cézanne's later works, focusing on his portraits and still life paintings. The summary describes how Cézanne's portraits, particularly those of his wife Hortense, were more concerned with color and structure than with capturing personality. It also discusses his use of diagonal elements in his compositions and his focus on the physical structure of his subjects. The paragraph highlights Cézanne's ability to convey a greater sense of character in his later works, as well as his innovative use of multiple perspectives in his still lifes, which would later influence artists of the 20th century.


🎴 Cézanne's Card Players and the Integration of Figures and Landscape

This paragraph examines Cézanne's memorable series of paintings depicting card players, emphasizing the arrangement of the painting and the use of multiple perspectives. The summary explains how Cézanne's innovative technique of viewing the table and its objects from different angles was a significant development in his artistic approach. It also discusses how this technique was applied to his still life work, providing an insight into Cézanne's meticulous process of exploring and interpreting his subjects from various viewpoints. The paragraph highlights the importance of these technical innovations to the development of modern art and Cézanne's influence on subsequent generations of artists.


🏞️ Cézanne's Obsession with Mont Sainte-Victoire and His Legacy

The paragraph details Cézanne's lifelong fascination with Mont Sainte-Victoire and his repeated depictions of the mountain in his paintings. The summary outlines how this subject allowed Cézanne to showcase his evolving techniques, from simple blocks of color to more abstract and delicate works. It emphasizes the significance of these paintings in understanding Cézanne's working methods and his integration of human figures with the natural landscape. The paragraph concludes with the account of Cézanne's death, highlighting the solitary nature of his existence and his unwavering dedication to his art, which would posthumously earn him recognition as a pivotal figure in the transition from Impressionism to Modern Art.


🌐 The Enduring Impact of Cézanne's Art on the Art World

The final paragraph reflects on the lasting influence of Cézanne's work on the art world, particularly in the development of cubism and abstract art. The summary discusses how Cézanne's approach to viewing objects from multiple perspectives and his playful manipulation of the canvas surface laid the groundwork for artists like Picasso and Braque. It emphasizes the significance of Cézanne's contribution to the destruction of traditional Renaissance perspective in painting and the emergence of a new way of seeing the relationship between a motif and the flat surface of the canvas. The paragraph concludes by acknowledging the financial value of Cézanne's individual works, which serves as a testament to his immense artistic achievement.




Impressionism is an art movement that originated in the 19th century, characterized by small, thin brush strokes, open composition, and an emphasis on capturing the fleeting effects of light and color in a scene. In the video, this movement is discussed as the context within which Paul Cézanne began his career, and his work is positioned as a bridge between Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, influencing many 20th-century artists.

💡Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne was a French Post-Impressionist painter who is recognized as a pivotal figure in the transition between 19th-century Impressionism and 20th-century Cubism. The video explores his life, his complex personality, and his unique artistic vision that focused on capturing the structure and form of the natural world. Cézanne's influence on modern painting is highlighted, particularly his exploration of multiple perspectives and geometric constructions in his paintings.


Post-Impressionism is an art movement that emerged after Impressionism and is characterized by a more expressive and symbolic use of color and form. It includes a diverse range of styles and approaches, as artists moved away from the naturalism of Impressionism to explore more subjective and emotional experiences. The video describes Cézanne's work as already moving into Post-Impressionism by 1874, with his focus on structure and form, which greatly influenced later artists like Picasso.

💡Mont Sainte-Victoire

Mont Sainte-Victoire is a mountain in the French region of Provence, which towers over the local communities, including the town where Paul Cézanne was born. The mountain captivated Cézanne throughout his life, inspiring some of his greatest landscapes. In the video, Mont Sainte-Victoire is presented as a symbol of the monumentality of Cézanne's art and his enduring connection to his homeland, with the artist painting it on over 60 occasions across different periods of his career.

💡Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro was a French Impressionist painter who played a significant role in the development of the Impressionist movement. In the video, Pissarro is portrayed as a supportive figure and a mentor to Cézanne, especially during his early years in Paris. Pissarro's influence helped Cézanne to refine his technique, adopting the short brush strokes and lighter palette associated with Impressionism, which would later evolve into Cézanne's distinct style.


Cubism is an early 20th-century art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, challenging traditional depictions of three-dimensional forms by breaking them down into geometric shapes and presenting them from multiple viewpoints. The video connects Cézanne's innovative approach to perspective and form with the development of Cubism, particularly noting how his work inspired artists like Picasso to explore new ways of representing reality on a two-dimensional surface.

💡Multiple Perspectives

Multiple perspectives refer to the technique of depicting an object or scene from more than one viewpoint simultaneously. Cézanne's exploration of this concept is highlighted in the video as a fundamental aspect of his mature work, which broke away from traditional Renaissance perspective and laid the groundwork for modern art movements like Cubism. His paintings often show different parts of a scene from various angles, creating a complex and dynamic composition.

💡Geometric Solids

In the context of the video, geometric solids refer to the basic three-dimensional shapes that Cézanne believed all objects could be reduced to: cones, cylinders, and spheres. This concept was central to his approach to painting, as he sought to capture the underlying structure of nature through the simplification of forms. This idea was later adopted and expanded upon by artists like Picasso, who used it as a basis for the development of Cubism.

💡Great Bathers

The 'Great Bathers' is one of Cézanne's most ambitious and accomplished paintings, completed near the end of his life. The video describes it as a work that integrates all the artistic innovations Cézanne had developed over the decades, with the landscape and figures constructed from nature and presented as a unified whole. The painting reflects Cézanne's belief that the landscape becomes a living, thinking being within the artist, and his desire to create a classical composition within a new framework.

💡Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was a Spanish modern artist, known for his pioneering work in various styles and movements, including Cubism. In the video, Picasso is presented as one of the artists who was deeply influenced by Cézanne's work, particularly his approach to form, structure, and multiple perspectives. Picasso's first Cubist work, 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon,' was inspired by Cézanne's painting 'The Great Bathers,' marking a significant shift in the history of art.

💡Abstract Art

Abstract art is a form of art that does not depict a recognizable subject, instead focusing on the use of color, form, and composition to achieve its effect. The video discusses Cézanne's contribution to the development of abstract art through his innovative techniques and his focus on the geometric structure of objects. His work laid the foundation for artists like Picasso and Braque to explore the possibilities of abstract representation in their paintings.


Paul Cézanne was a pivotal figure in the transition from Impressionism to Post-Impressionism, and is recognized as the father of modern painting.

Cézanne's work was initially met with criticism and he was largely ignored throughout his life, but his paintings now sell for millions and have inspired countless artists.

Cézanne's artistic vision involved a unique interpretation of the external world, focusing on form and structure rather than the fleeting impressions of light and color.

His retrospective exhibition in 1907 in Paris had a profound impact on artists like Picasso and Braque, influencing their focus on form and structure in painting.

Cézanne's fascination with Mont Sainte-Victoire, a peak in his native Provence, inspired some of his greatest landscapes and symbolizes the monumentality of his art.

Despite his father's wishes for him to pursue a career in the family bank, Cézanne was determined to follow his passion for visual art.

Cézanne's early works were influenced by Romanticism, particularly the dramatic subject matter and use of dark coloring of Eugène Delacroix.

Cézanne's personality and his refusal to conform to the expectations of the Parisian art world often led to conflict with his contemporaries and difficulties in gaining recognition for his work.

The Franco-Prussian War forced Cézanne to flee Paris, and during this time, he began to explore landscape painting, leading to a shift in his artistic approach.

Cézanne's relationship with Camille Pissarro was crucial in his development as an artist, with Pissarro's techniques and encouragement helping Cézanne to refine his style.

Cézanne's innovative technique of 'flat depth painting' challenged traditional perspectives and laid the groundwork for the development of modern art.

Cézanne believed that all objects could be reduced to three geometric solids – the cone, the cylinder, and the sphere – a concept that greatly influenced the Cubist movement.

Cézanne's later works show a mastery of color and form, with his landscapes, still lifes, and portraits displaying a profound sense of structure and an architectural approach to composition.

Cézanne's paintings often featured multiple perspectives, a technique that would later become central to the Cubist artists and their exploration of form and space.

Despite his personal struggles and the lack of recognition during his lifetime, Cézanne's dedication to his artistic vision has solidified his legacy as a foundational figure in the history of art.

Cézanne's fascination with Mont Sainte-Victoire continued until his death, with the mountain serving as a constant source of inspiration and a testament to his enduring connection to his homeland.