Paul Cezanne is one of the most famous French artists of the 20th century. His works and ideas were influenced by impressionism. Although his work was misunderstood and rejected by the people of his time, his reputation increased both for the way he created a painting through what his eyes saw in nature and for his unique quality of painting art which he achieved through color, space and mass. Through thorough inspection of Paul Cezanne’s watercolor-like oil painting titled Rocks in the Forest one can examine the characteristics of the Modern period otherwise known as Impressionism. This painting dates from 1839-1906, it location is known as the Forest of Fontainebleau, where Cezanne worked on most of his painting around 1894. According to the text panel, which accompanies the painting, another suggestion was that this picture was also painted near Aix-en-Provence.
Rocks in the Forest is a painting that is characterized by spotty effects. When one is looking at the picture up close, the painting is unclear and hard to view. It becomes visible once it is viewed from a distance. The artist is depicting a scene in the forest made up of rocks and trees. It is important to note Cezanne emphasis on color, he uses colors that he sees in nature and combines it with natural light. He uses small brushstrokes. This painting seems as if it was painted in the nighttime because of the dark colors he used. He uses grey and dark tones by mixing complementary colors. The painting has a rough surface due to the layers of paint that are applied.
Cezanne was interested in capturing the present moment of the painting. The painting is in such great detail that it leaves almost no empty space. All the corners are diagonally turned in giving the picture a “closing” effect. It is apparent that Cezanne drew the painting from a close position because the rocks and trees are painted in a large scale. The rocks and trees are non-symmetrical, each forming a different size and shape. Although the picture depicts a scene up-close, it is interesting to note that Cezanne included the sky and the ocean, objects that are seen in the distance.
The French Academy was one of the oldest schools of art where professional artist would submit their artwork to the Salon. It dictated the way art should be created. During the time that Cezanne created this painting, a movement known as impressionism began. It started in 1874, with the first impressionist exhibition, which was aimed at going against The French Academy. The impressionist artists’ paintings often included the same characteristics such as painting outdoors in a natural setting in order to capture natural light, capturing what their eyes saw, rather than what is really there or using brushstrokes that were often short, thin, small and choppy.
Rocks in the Forest is a perfect painting that illustrates impressionism. Cezanne uses all the key characteristics listed above. He uses short and choppy brushstrokes to create a painting of such detail. He takes what he saw in the forest and draws it through his impression. He paints using colors that make the picture appear the closest to natural light. We learn that impressionists often painted in the