Paul Cézanne and His Eternal Feminine
For post-impressionist artist Paul Cézanne, the nude was a central role in his career, however, for an artist who usually drew from life, he happened to be uncomfortable with naked models and was even quoted to say, “Woman models frighten me.” (Getty) Looking at Cézanne’s 17” x 20 7/8” oil on canvas The Eternal Feminine from 1877, “frighten” does not seem to be the only affect woman have on him. My boyfriend and I rushed into the Getty Center with excited curiosity, wondering about what kind of artwork we would find. We only had an hour to explore the museum and find a piece that I liked enough to want to write about. When we came across this painting in particular, I had to take a step closer. I see that it is a painting of what appears to be a woman sitting in the middle of a crowd of men and I can vaguely hear my boyfriend whispering the words from the plaque hanging adjacent of the piece, “domineering woman… crowd of men fighting for her attention… None of the men… artist himself… can resist her temptation…” (Getty) My boyfriend looks to the painting and laughs “See! Everyone thinks woman are evil!” and with that I knew I loved it and wanted to learn more. This oil painting on a small 17” x 20 7/8” canvas is an abstract representation of a nude woman, with red eye sockets, centered on a curtained thrown-like seat. Surrounding this pale expressionless woman are men of different social standards ranging from musicians, to church bishops, to the artist himself (Getty). Due to the small scale the artist uses, you almost instinctively look closer and examine the painting more so than you would if the picture had been bigger. This was most likely intentional to get the viewer to pay closer attention to the detail the artist put into the work, such like his signature brush strokes or the expressions of the woman and men in the painting. The men appear desperate and almost aggressive for...
Cited: Kimmelmen, Michael. “Art View; Cézanne in All His Magnificient Glory.” New York Times 1996. NY Times website September 29, 2013.
"Paul Cézanne." 2013. The Biography Channel website. September 29, 2013.
“The Eternal Feminine.” The Getty Center website. September 29, 2013. < http://www.getty.edu/art/collectionSearch/collectionSearch?col=museum&nh=10&pw=100%25&lk=1&qt=paul+C%E9zanne+&x=-1036&y=-554>
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