Paul Cézanne painted Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Les Lauves in oil on canvas between 1902 and 1906. This painting is in the Private Collection.
What is depicted in the Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Les Lauves?
The painting shows the view of Mount Sainte-Victoire from Les Lauves.
Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Les Lauves – Analysis
The motif of Mont Sainte-Victoire is continuously present in Cézanne’s work. Considering that Cézanne spent most of his life in Aix-en-Provence, it is not surprising that this motif is so prominently established in his work. In interpreting this Mediterranean landscape, Cézanne experimented with a new form of landscape that would later be so significant. This new form was reflected in the rejection of the principle of believability and idealization of scenes. By excluding illusionism, Cézanne opened up space for a new relationship to the motif through the exploration of the dynamics of vision in relation to proximity or distance, breaking contours and insisting on the flatness of the image.
Mount Sainte-Victoire is a very important topos in the culture of Provence. Sainte-Victoire is a limestone mountain ridge that extends between Aix-en-Provence and Pourrières. The name of this mountain is associated with an important moment in Roman history. Namely, the Battle of Aquae Sextiae took place here in 102 BC. In that battle Roman consul and general Gaius Marius defeated the Teutons. During the Middle Ages and later, Mount Sainte-Victoire was a place of pilgrimage. On the mountain, there is a monumental cross that was built four years after the end of the Franco-Prussian war. The cross overlooks the chapel of Notre Dame de la Victoire. In the corpus of Mediterranean culture, Provence has an important place and this mountain, as a symbol of the Mediterranean heritage in French culture, was an inspiration for many artists. Before Cézanne, Jean Antoine Constantin, Prosper Grésy, and François Marius Granet included the motif of Mount Sainte-Victoire in their paintings.
Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Les Lauves
When painting Mont Sainte-Victoire, as well as in the landscapes from Marseilles and L’Estaque, Cézanne excludes the presence of the figure without exception. Regardless of the frequent displays of architecture, any human activity or even hinted action does not exist. Authentically rural, primordial Provence is represented in Cézanne’s landscapes.
In the painting Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Les Lauves, Cézanne uses the technique of constructive brushstrokes to build a thoughtful color structure based on complementary relationships of green, blue, and ochre. Although ochre dominates the central part of the composition, the dramatic composition of Cézanne’s colors is still built here by blue and green tones. These colors complement each other in the part where Cézanne paints the sky using the same green as when painting the valley. Theodore Rousseau, Jr. writes in Paul Cezanne The Mont Sainte-Victoire dominates all the countryside around Aix like a huge marble pyramid. The people of the region foretell the weather by the way it looks and has certain superstitious beliefs about it. Cezanne painted it over and over again, and at the end of his life it had become almost his only model.
Very similar in composition to the painting Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Les Lauves is the painting Mont Sainte-Victoire created between 1902 and 1904. This painting is part of the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.