Painting of The Month, March 2016

A Blind Man Would Have Great Difficulty Looking at Cezanne

013 A blind man would have great difficulty with 2001_2 fl

Although a deceptively simple painting, it has a natural beauty with a real sense of place albeit quite surreal.

The background scene is a little town on the bank of the river Saone called Tournus, where we would stop over on route to holidays in Italy. In fact, the family still do, to this day. My grandson Nathan and I will be there this summer.

The journey would progress from Tournus to Aix en Provence, the home-town of Steven’s best-loved artist Cezanne and a pilgrimage to the Jas de Bouffan studio would always be undertaken.

The title of the painting is in relation to that trick of the eye practiced by Cezanne and probably most artists, Steven included of looking at the painting, closing one eye opening it and then quickly closing the other, a sort of winking technique or simply keep one eye closed while looking at an object, scene etc.

“Artists have long known there are two ways of seeing the world”, says University of Oslo Psychology Professor Stine Vogt, Ph.D. “Without learning to turn off the part of the brain that identifies objects, people can only draw icons of objects, rather than the objects themselves. When faced with a hat, for instance, most people sketch an archetypal side view of a hat, rather than the curves, colours and shadows that hit our retina.”

She found that artists eyes tended to scan the whole picture, including apparently empty expanses of ocean or sky while non-artists focused in on objects, especially people. Non-artists spent about 40 percent of the time looking at objects while artists focused on them 20 percent of the time”

So, as the title clearly states, a blind man would have great difficulty with Cezanne.

Carol Campbell 2016

Source: How artist’s see


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