Cezanne's Harlequin

Cezanne's Harlequin
Cezanne's Harlequin
Anonim

Paul Cezannepainted this same harlequin on several occasions, and it is actually a costume that his own son wore and posed for him. In this case for a canvas painted in oil between the years 1888 and 1889.

Immediately, the fabric conveys an air of unreality and, above all, very playful. And not only because it is a costume, but also because of that step as if suspended in the air, like a dance, in which the figure has been captured.

Cezanne's Harlequin

Cezanne's Harlequin

However, the real magic of the work is the few means that Cezanne needs to build the entire space. Actually, he does everything with more or less geometric shapes and color. It is clear that the leading role falls on the central and vertical presence of the harlequin. Behind him there is only a cloth that serves as a background and below a floor that really seems to be tilted, as if the figure were going to come at us.

The space vibrates thanks to the traces of blue, green and violet tones on the back fabric, and they are complemented by the range of oranges, reds and also blues on the floor. A whole scenario that serves to contrast in a resounding way the stylized figure of the harlequin dressed in black and red rhombuses. Some colors that reach even more strength thanks to the clear notes of the cane and the hat.

In very similar poses he painted his son on several occasions with this same costume and in that sameliving room. And sometimes he even added a friend of the child to whom he made him dress up with another figure from the classic circus, such as the Pierrot character. And in all these compositions that were not simple notes but works of a considerable format (for example, the canvas of this harlequin measures 92 x 65 cm), well, in all these works they seek to create a very unreal atmosphere and close to daydreaming.

The truth is that resorting to the world of circus characters was common among artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Examples abound and in different styles. For example, a post-impressionistpainter and a contemporary of Cezanne, such as the pointillist Seurat painted The Circus. Or later, Rouault painted clowns on numerous occasions as characters who represent sadness despite their profession. An attitude similar to that presented to us by a young Edward Hopper in his work Blue Afternoon of 1914.

In fact, clowns in art have always had that ability to be figures to reflect melancholy or very sad attitudes, something that is hidden under their masks, costumes and makeup.

However, within this type of figures, the case of the harlequins is special, since there are painters like Cezanne, for whom geometric shapes were so important, the harlequins had a suit based on rhombuses of what more suggestive. Something that years later also caught the attention ofPablo Picassosuch as his own Harlequin in 1917, and years later he also disguised his son Paul asHarlequin and portrayed him, as did Cezanne.

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