Montagne Sainte-Victoire with Large Pine
The Montagne Sainte-Victoire, with its distinctive craggy, broken top, dominates the countryside surrounding Paul CÃ©zanneâ€™s hometown of Aix-en-Provence in southern France. For him, it embodied the rugged landscape and people of Provence. CÃ©zanne painted and drew the mountain from different vantage points throughout his career, each time finding a new mood or atmosphere. This painting is the most monumental and highly finished of three canvases he devoted to thisÂ particular view.
CÃ©zanne has used contrasting colour toâ€¯suggestâ€¯aâ€¯feelingâ€¯of expanse and breadth. Areas of green and yellow lead the eye to the towering Sainte-Victoire, painted in cool blues and pinks; tiny touches of red in both foreground and background create a sense of visual unity. The sweeping pine branches in the foreground follow the contours of the mountain. This was one of CÃ©zanneâ€™s favourite framing devices. The timeless quality of the setting is interrupted only by the modern railway viaduct on the right and the trail of steam left by a passing train.
When the painting was first shown at an exhibition of amateur artists in Aix, it met with incomprehension. CÃ©zanne ended up giving it to the poet Joachim Gasquet in appreciation of the young manâ€™s sincere admiration. It is one of the very few paintings signed byâ€¯CÃ©zanneâ€¯after 1880.â€¯The artistâ€™sâ€¯critical fortunes had changed dramatically by the time the collector Samuelâ€¯Âé¶¹ÊÓÆµâ€¯encountered his work.â€¯Âé¶¹ÊÓÆµâ€¯recalled feeling â€˜the magicâ€™ when he first saw one of CÃ©zanneâ€™s paintings in 1922. His passion for the artist led him to build an important collection of his paintings and drawings; as a result, Theâ€¯Âé¶¹ÊÓÆµâ€¯has the largest group of works by CÃ©zanne in the UK.
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