Cézanne Essay Questions

Like the Impressionists, Cézanne painted directly from nature. In addition to this fin-de-siécle approach to painting he studied classical art in the museums, and was particularly inspired by the dramatic landscapes of Nicolas Poussin. This duality of his divergent interests in art created the foundation on which his entire project was based. The conflict between these two opposing approaches to painting creates a tension in his work that resulted in his use of shifting perspective. If Cézanne’s work was a conflation of two categories of historical art, what were they, and explain their opposing characteristics.


There is a shift that occurs repeatedly between what you are looking at when you paint or draw from nature, and your representation of the particular view of nature that you hold at that moment. At some point in making a work that represents nature or still life (nature morte), the art object itself becomes privileged. Referencing the Allan Ginsberg interview discuss what Cézanne called, “petite sensations.”

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