The Rooftops


Paul Cézanne ( French, 1839 - 1906 )

About 1898
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General Description

Here we see the hallmarks of Paul Cézanne’s groundbreaking approach to the representation of space and three-dimensional forms. Rather than applying traditional modes of linear perspective and volumetric shading, Cézanne rendered forms as simplified, geometric shapes through shifting planes of color applied in small, parallel brushstrokes. This radical, semi-abstract style, which emphasizes the flatness of the picture’s surface, revolutionized avant-garde painting and laid the foundation for Cubism. The Rooftops is a particularly poetic example of Cézanne’s late work. Inspired by the medium of watercolor, he used large areas of unpainted canvas as a tonal value in the composition. This technique raises questions about whether the artist considered such paintings to be finished or whether he left them unresolved. What do you think the case is here?