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on 20 October 2008
This book by Erle Loran was first published in 1943, but it is still a remarkable and fascinating analysis of how Cezanne's paintings work. I have learned more from this book about modern art than from any other single work.
Loran was himself a painter, who went to Provence and stayed in Cezanne's old studio. He found the sites of many of Cezanne's paintings and photographed them with a cheap camera. Years later, he analysed each picture, placing it by the photograph of the motif, thus showing exactly how Cezanne changed things around. Cezanne is often noted for his colour and his brushwork but this study makes clear how fundamental composition was to his painting. Comparisons of the same landscape painted by Renoir and by Cezanne, and again by Pissarro and Cezanne, are particularly revealing.
If I were seeking to learn to paint, I would use this book as my text! It is rather dogmatic in places but Loran's method of using diagrams and arrows to illustrate the dynamics of a picture is wonderful.
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on 4 January 2011
I recommended this book to a painter friend recently, showing her my own copy of many years. She, like me, was fascinated by it and I ordered a copy for her then and there. As a figurative painter and admirer of Cezanne I have found this book an invaluable resource both in terms of developing my own understanding of Cezanne's work and as a resource for teaching. The juxtaposition of reproductions with photographs of landscape motifs is particularly interesting, illustrating how Cezanne was prepared to alter what he saw while constructing a painting. The diagrams clearly show the compositional devises used by Cezanne. It's an excellent book!
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