Paul Cézanne (1839-1906): Women Bathing
Oil on canvas | 47 x 77 cm | C. 1895
The picture is one of Cézanne’s typical paintings of bathers. A characteristic feature is the experimental painting method with the many precisely emphasized small strokes lying parallel to one another. Cézanne did not use living models, but existing pictures, as inspiration for his figures. Unlike other paintings showing nude women, there is no desire at play here, neither among the figures themselves nor in relation to the spectator, just as any tendency towards narrative is avoided.
The picture does not show us a particular situation or moment, as an Impressionist picture would; instead it varies a theme that for Cézanne had a timeless character. The result is a classical picture created on modern terms.
With his radical, constructive way of painting, Cézanne holds a key position in the history of art. His work, in every way epoch-making and modernist, has inspired many artists in the 20th century.
Motifs: Still lifes, portraits, figure compositions and landscapes. A crucial element in his oeuvre is repetitions of selected motifs like the mountain Mont Sainte-Victoire near Aix-en-Provence, bathing figures and still lifes of apples and pears.
Read more about Cézanne at the Musée d’Orsay’s website.