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Video transcript

we're in the armory in Paris and we're looking at a late Paul Cezanne at the Red Rock this is actually one of my favorite landscapes by Cezanne so what makes it one of your favorite well you know he loved painting rocks quarries and the forest but this is just so outrageous you've got this huge abstract shape in the upper right corner which is an overhanging rock ledge but it is so unexpected and so weighty and abstract you said wavy but it has no bottom so it feels to me like it hovers in midair well it's true and even as I said wait I was thinking well we know it's heavy we know it's massive but actually in a pictorial sense maybe not so much this is a painting horses on has perfected these short stippled brushstrokes and which create this wonderful sense of the buzz of a very hot afternoon you've been in a semi-arid environment like South of France or maybe the desert in the western United States can hear the insects you're right it feels very much like a very hot afternoon and I also sense the leaves rustling a little bit in the dry hot wind so he's drawn us into this landscape he's given us his ochre path with these alternating bands of shadow and so we're not that far away from classical landscape of 17th and 18th centuries all right does travel down that path and we can almost feel ourselves walking through the space that's right but then something happens that up ends that more traditional recessionary space which is if you look at the curve of the pathway starts in the center and it's fairly large and then it recedes and gets narrower as our eye moves into space and bends ever so slightly to the right but then you'll notice that there are the same colors that pick up in a similar arc but now up in the trees so is that a rock that's seen through the trees perhaps but optically it plays fast and loose with the recession that we had been comfortable with a moment before well there's lots in the painting that does that the violet that makes for those horizontal shadows that you just mentioned is carried up through the landscape we're not meant I think to read space in the traditional way here I think saison is not only questioning the classical landscape but I think he's also questioning the impressionist landscape remember he had shown in the 1874 exhibition and then comes back down to the South of France and begins the series of investigations Cezanne here has given us a space into which we can walk and at the same time he is simply in fatica Lee refusing to give us that space that rock comes up and forward those trees and that sky create deep space but also resist deep space there's just this sense of completely turning all of the traditions of landscape on its head not necessarily knowing where he's going by the way I think that this is really exploration but exploration that is also just really beautiful this is a painting that is clearly creating the densest possible field of color and form and that sense of density that focus on the paint itself on the surface and on the to dimensionality of the canvas seems to me irrefutable look for instance at the center where those warm rich orange ogres are rising up and the way in which they're overlaid by the greens and those black purples so abstract it is incredibly abstract and incredibly dense and the paint itself is forthright and and so it is about paint and dismantling the expectations of traditional landscape