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Paul Cézanne and the Montagne Sainte-Victoire: An Artistic Obsession

Paul Cézanne is one of the most important painters in the history of art. He was born and lived in Aix-en-Provence, France, and was fascinated by Mont Sainte-Victoire, which overlooks the city. He painted the mountain on numerous occasions, more than 80 times during his career.

Paul Cézanne, The Montagne Sainte-Victoire seen from Bellevue

Cézanne's obsession with Sainte-Victoire

Cézanne's fascination with Sainte-Victoire is difficult to explain. The mountain is beautiful, but not particularly unique or spectacular. However, Cézanne found something deeply moving about it. He was attracted by its shapes, its colours and its light.

Sainte-Victoire is a limestone mountain, with abrupt shapes and sharp peaks. It is surrounded by green hills and valleys. Cézanne was attracted by the natural beauty of the mountain, but he was also sensitive to its strength and permanence. The mountain was a symbol of stability and endurance, and Cézanne found something comforting in it.

The different representations of Sainte-Victoire

Cézanne did not paint Sainte-Victoire in the same way every time. He experimented with different techniques and styles, trying to capture the essence of the mountain from different angles and at different times of day.

In some of his paintings, Sainte-Victoire is depicted realistically. It is depicted as it appears in nature, with its precise shapes and colours. In other paintings, the mountain is distorted or abstracted. Cézanne used techniques such as fragmentation and juxtaposition of colours to create a more expressive image of the mountain.

Cézanne also painted Sainte-Victoire at different times of the day. He was fascinated by the way the light changes the appearance of the mountain. In some paintings, the mountain is depicted in bright sunlight, while in others it is shown under a cloudy sky or under the moon.

Cézanne's obsession with Sainte-Victoire as an expression of his quest for artistic truth

Cézanne's obsession with Sainte-Victoire was an expression of his quest for artistic truth. He was looking for a new way of representing reality that was both faithful to nature and expressive of his own vision.

Cézanne believed that reality could not be represented objectively. He believed that the artist should give free rein to his own interpretation of reality. By painting Sainte-Victoire in different ways, Cézanne explored different ways of representing reality.

Sainte-Victoire as a symbol of modern art

Sainte-Victoire has become a symbol of Cézanne's painting and of modern art in general. It is proof of Cézanne's commitment to exploring the possibilities of art and his ability to create images that are both beautiful and meaningful.

The influence of Sainte-Victoire

Sainte-Victoire has influenced other artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Picasso was inspired by Cézanne's bright colours and bold shapes, while Matisse was attracted by the simplicity and harmony of his compositions.


Paul Cézanne's Montagne Sainte-Victoire was a lifelong artistic obsession. For him, the mountain was a subject of study, a means of expression and a source of inspiration. It has become an icon of modern art, representing the quest for artistic truth and freedom of expression.

Mount Sainte-Victoire by Georges Coulomb


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