Click on the pictures to see enlarged versions of the images.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Great Pine

(The Great Pine by Paul Cézanne, 1839-1906, French
Post-Impressionist painter)

William Blake is not the only artist who brought his poems to life with his own illustrations.

In 1858, Paul Cézanne wrote to a friend, the writer Émile Zola, about a memory from his youth:

“Do you remember the pine on the bank of the Arc, with its hairy head projecting above the abyss at its foot? This pine which protected our bodies with its foliage from the heat of the sun, oh! may the gods preserve it from the woodman’s baleful axe!”

Five years later, Cézanne composed a short verse about the same tree. And in the 1880's, he painted at least three images that followed up on this verse, two in watercolor and the one above in oils.


The tree shaken by the fury of the winds
Stirs its stripped branches in the air,
An immediate cadaver that the mistral* swings.

(*mistral - cold northern wind that blows in the French Mediterranean region)

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