Where did the artist stand to paint this painting? Cézanne painted Sainte-Victoire mountain near his home in Provence more than sixty times in one decade. Because Cézanne enjoyed painting geometric forms, this mountain was a perfect muse. In this painting the mountain is composed of different shades of gray. The horizontal and parallel brushstrokes show the texture of the landscape.
Cézanne painted during the 1800s, around the time that the automobile, airplane, camera, and telephone were invented. As you can imagine, these inventions had a dramatic impact on daily life. Some people enjoyed the comfort and efficiency that modernity brought while Cezanne fled the new, fast-paced, materialistic life style. Cézanne preferred to live in the south of France, where the pace of life was slower.
Before touching brush to canvas, Cézanne carefully considered his subject. Whether a mountain or an apple, Cezanne focused on the colors and shapes that he saw. Serusier once wrote about Cézanne’s painting technique, “He cleaned away from pictorial art all the mold that time had deposited upon it; he restored all that was sound, pure, and classic.”1 Cézanne was admired for using patches of color to create form.
1Murphy, Richard W. The World of Cézanne 1839–1906. (Alexandria, Virginia: Time Life Library of Art, 1968), 9