My name is Mary Katherine. I believe you'll be reading several articles written by me because I'm immersed with Virginie In Provence for the entire month of January. This week, Virginie is introducing me to the Cézanne Studio in Aix-en-Provence. I'm taking you along with us.
1. Visiting Cézanne's studio during your immersion in Provence: Studio Description
a. Visiting Cézanne's studio during your immersion in Provence: The Windows
One place in Aix-en-Provence that every tourist should visit is Cézanne's studio. Located on the hill in the city center, his studio on the upper floor offered Cézanne a magnificent view of the surroundings. Upon entering the studio, you can't miss the immense windows that let in a lot of light.
b. Visiting Cézanne's studio during your immersion in Provence: The Objects
Along one wall, there were numerous vases and bowls that Cézanne used in his still lifes. On the right side of another wall, there was a narrow rectangular door that allowed Cézanne to pass large canvases to his gardener below. The studio also contains all the art materials one would expect, such as paint, brushes, easels, wooden mannequins, and even human skulls.
c. Visiting Cézanne's studio during your immersion in Provence: The Paintings
One of the most striking features of Cézanne's paintings is his use of colors. Blues, greens, yellow, and ochre were widely employed. Cézanne was a perfectionist who made meticulous trips between the studio and the outdoors to get the right colors. Because he was so determined to get the right colors, it took him a long time to finish a painting. Fortunately, his father supported him financially. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been able to devote so much attention to detail. It makes me wonder what other struggling artists could have accomplished if their fathers had supported them.
2. Visiting Cézanne's studio during your immersion in Provence: A guided tour in French
a. Visiting Cézanne's studio during your immersion in Provence: My Understanding
Our guide spoke in French, and I was able to understand much of what she said. She showed us some slides of Cézanne's work. Looking at the visuals while she spoke helped me understand even more. This was particularly true when she showed us one of his still lifes and described how Cézanne liked to play with perspective and gravity.
b. Visiting Cézanne's studio during your immersion in Provence: His Relationship with Picasso
She also talked to us about Cézanne's relationship with Picasso and how Picasso deeply admired and appreciated Cézanne's work.
Picasso said of Cézanne: "Cézanne! He was like our father to all of us."
c. Visiting Cézanne's studio during your immersion in Provence: Picasso and Montagne Sainte-Victoire
Picasso greatly admired Cézanne as well. He decided to buy land near Montagne Sainte Victoire. Here's a bit of his story. Picasso learned that the 17th-century Château de Vauvenargues was for sale. Vauvenargues is a small village on the slope of Montagne Sainte-Victoire. Picasso went to visit the castle, but the castle's keeper had received strict instructions.
He shouldn't let anyone enter the property without the real estate agent. So, he left the 77-year-old artist at the door. Picasso dined in a nearby bistro and chatted with the restaurant owner. The owner called the real estate agent, who arrived in a hurry. An agreement was reached. In addition to the castle, Picasso purchased 1,100 hectares of mountain covered with pine trees and red rocks. He also bought a part of Montagne Sainte-Victoire.
d. Visiting Cézanne's studio during your immersion in Provence: The painters’ field
After visiting the studio, Virginie and I climbed the hill to the spot where Cézanne used to paint Montagne Sainte-Victoire. From there, you have a clear view of the mountain. It's not surprising that the mountain was depicted in many of Cézanne's paintings.
He was fascinated by the rugged architectural forms of the Provencal mountains. He painted the same scene from many different angles.
Many of them were done in vibrant blues and greens. I'm amazed at how he could perceive the colors when most of us cannot. I also appreciate being able to look at the same mountain he studied so closely. I feel a connection with him.
If you are coming for an immersion stay in Provence, I really invite you to contact Virginie in Provence. She will be happy to make you discover the different aspects of Provence: landscapes and scents, but also culture, gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French.