This painting of Evening in Naples that Cézanne made in 1875 and is now part of the collection of theNational Gallery of Australia in Canberra, surely it is not the best known work of the French painter, but it is a small canvas (37 x 45 cm.) that summarizes in itself many of the characteristics, both thematic as stylistics of Paul Cézanne.
Evening in Naples by Cézanne
For example, there are many of the paintings that the painter dedicated to showing naked bodies, as in his wide variety of bathers. As in some of these images, an evident erotic tone is breathed. And of course in the fabric of the Australian museum both elements occur.
We are shown how a black maid opens a curtain and reveals a naked couple lying on a bed. In a most relaxed position, possibly after making love, she contemplating their bodies, the room and the Neapolitan surroundings through the window that can be seen on the wall. While the maid brings them a snack on a tray. Which by the way is also almost naked, providing color, movement and reinforcing the idea of a most relaxed and intimate setting.
The sensual atmosphere of the scene is clear, for which it possibly had a Delacroix painting as a reference. And perhaps because of this palpable eroticism, the work was not accepted in the Artists' Hall ofthat year. In reality, all the paintings he presented were rejected, perhaps because those nudes had nothing to do with mythological or historical chapters, or perhaps because of his unique style, different from anything seen before. In fact, Cezanne, who had spent quite a bit of time painting with Camille Pissarro, was already going one step beyond Impressionism. If this style was still not very well seen by the more traditional sectors of art, Cezanne went a little further and advanced towards the new forms of Post-Impressionism.
Although it includes references to great works, such as the mirror on the headboard of the bed, which can refer to other works from previous centuries, the truth is that the way he paints is different. He uses a brushstroke as fast as impasto. All expressiveness and shape are based on color paste, which he then outlines with dark lines.
On the other hand there is a still life, a subject especially dear to the painter. In this case as an accessory and placed as a decoration in the open cupboard on the back wall. And there is also the geometric game that Cezanne likes so much. It is his way of conceiving space and also bodies, which are already beginning to be cut by color planes.
As a curiosity, it must be said that Cézanne was never in Naples. However, it was a friend of his who suggested this title to him, as it reminded him of the clichéd, dilettante atmosphere with which many French people associated that area of Italy.