CEZANNE ROOM, at the metropolitan museum of art.
my best place for this year is a re-discovery. i went to see cezanne’s paintings after reading rilke’s letters on cezanne.
i hadn’t been in many years, and went alone, and have since been back four times in the course of a month.
there is no one who does apples and blues and bathers like cezanne. you stand in front of the painting and don’t know if you should lick it or press your cheek against it or just fall to your knees. in any case, it’s very difficult to keep your hands at your sides. There is a natural impulse to reach out and touch them.
in technical terms, cezanne’s paintings are associated with what is referred to as ‘the erotics of paint.’ i couldn’t agree more.
his paintings not only startle you with their sensuous texture, but his colors instantly cease all thought. there is really nothing to do but stare and let it wash over you, enter you.
cezanne was pressured by his wealthy father to become a lawyer. cezanne tried, but what he really wanted to do was draw, so he eventually dropped out of law school and ended up with all the other artists in Provence where the light is astounding. there, he found paint.
cezanne was known as, above all, a worker. he worked long long hours in his studio every day and kept at it. he was a pauper. his father, angry with him for leaving law, barely gave him any of his large fortune. you can see in the painting of the priest, who is cezanne’s uncle, how cezanne painted over and over and over the canvas to save money. the painting is thick and cracked with all the layers.
it’s still a wonder to me that we can go and view these paintings which are just hanging on the wall without glass or a rope in front of them. it is a thrill for me to stand before them and let myself be inspired and affected by them.
and the Met has devoted an entire room to him.
i took these photos with my iphone. scroll down and enjoy them. i hope you will take yourself over to the met to see them in person. they are beauty incarnate.