Pierrot and Harlequin by Paul Cezanne
Pierrot and Harlequin by Paul Cezanne. Pierrot et Arlequin, or “Mardi Gras” – the picture painted in 1888-1890 by French artist Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). It belongs to the State Museum of Fine Arts Pushkin in Moscow, located in the gallery of art of Europe and America, XIX-XX centuries. The eternal conflict between two temperaments – Piero (Italian version – Pedrolino) and Harlequin, traditional characters of Italian commedia dell’arte. As models, for Cezanne posed his son Paul and his friend Louis Guillaume. White melancholic figure of Piero seems made of plaster. Red and black tights of self-confident Harlequin symbolize the flame on coals. Different Location of colored left and right curtains emphasizes forward movement of Harlequin and a static position of Pierrot. The same as in life – confident people believe in their ability to achieve goals. “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure”, said Mark Twain.
Figures and facial expressions depicted on the canvas, the images are more like puppets. Around them, the artist depicted an appropriate environment. In his work “Pierrot and Harlequin” Cezanne greatly deviates from his usual style of drawing. In addition, he gave expression to persons of acting characters. Cezanne paints arrogance and cynicism of a quirky and cheerful Harlequin and insincerity of shy and secretive Piero. It seems that dreamy Pierrot is thinking about something else, but if you look closely, you can see how he secretly wants to push Harlequin. The artist gave his creation a lot of attention. The painter uses a wide range of colors. Take, for example, bright costume of Harlequin, which highlights the figure of the hero from the crowd and attracts the viewer’s eye to painted black and red diamond. Incidentally, they perfectly reflect and acute character. Working on the folds of the costume of Pierrot, the master used a gray-green hues, showing himself an excellent draftsman.
The size of the picture – 102 × 81 cm. In the years 1890-1899 the picture “Pierrot and Harlequin” was in the collection of Victor Chocquet. Then it was bought by the famous Parisian Marchand Paul Durand-Ruel and was there until 1904.
In the years 1904-1918 the picture “Pierrot and Harlequin” was in the collection of the Moscow merchant and collector Sergei Shchukin. In 1918 it was transferred to the 1st of the new Museum of Western painting. In 1923 it was merged with the 2nd Museum of Modern Western Painting, and thus was formed the State Museum of New Western Art (GMNZI), in which the painting was before its abolition in 1948. After this, the painting was transferred to the Pushkin Museum, where it remains to this day.
Creating a painting “Pierrot and Harlequin,” Paul Cezanne created a story dedicated to the Mardi Gras celebration. This is the last day of Mardi Gras festivities on the eve of Lent. But in the picture there is not even a hint of Pancake carnival or fair. Here we have only two young people dressed in carnival costumes. It can be seen, they just came out on the stage, waiting for the ceremony.
Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), French painter, with Gauguin and van Gogh the greatest of the Post-Impressionists and a key figure in the development of 20th-century art. In the 1860s and 1870s he was associated with the Impressionists, but he never identified himself with them or adopted their aims and techniques. Working with his friend and mentor Pissarro, he devoted himself to painting landscapes out-of-doors, a technique still considered radical. Rather than trying to capture fleeting impressions of light, he was interested in the underlying structure of nature, and his aims are summarized in two of his sayings: that it was his ambition ‘to do Poussin again after nature’ and that he wanted to make of Impressionism ‘something solid and enduring like the art of the museums’.
After the death of his wealthy father in 1886 Cezanne lived mainly at the family estate at Aix-en-Provence, and his financial security enabled him to survive the indifference to his work that lasted until the last decade of his life. After a successful exhibition of his work in Paris in 1895, he greatly excited the attention of young artists and by the time of his death was a much-revered figure.
His paintings are principally devoted to certain favorite themes – still life, portraits of his wife, and above all the landscape of Provence, particularly the Mont Ste-Victoire. In them he combined the grandeur of the French classical tradition with novel representational methods, suggesting form and space not through traditional perspective but through extraordinarily subtle modulations of patches of color. His late landscapes, which express simultaneously depth and flat design, were the starting-point for the *Cubist experiments of Braque and Picasso, which came only a few years later, and he has had a great influence on other developments in 20th-century art.
Norwich John Oxford Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Arts