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Paul Cezannes Modulated Primitivism - Essay Example

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The essay explores Paul Cezanne’s and Primitivism. Paul Cezanne led an artistic life of isolation. He had few exhibits during his lifetime but is considered today as the forerunner of modern painting. He was misunderstood during his lifetime and his techniques stemmed from Impressionism. …
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Paul Cezannes Modulated Primitivism
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Download file to see previous pages The essay "Paul Cezanne’s Modulated Primitivism" discovers the art of Paul Cezanne and the Primitivism. Although living during the period of the impressionists, he went beyond their paradigms to create what he called “something more solid and durable, like the art of the museums.'' Cezanne professed his ideas on primitivism when he wrote: "Primary force alone, id est temperament, can bring a person to the end he must attain." He expresses this with emphasis on attainability of the primitive and basic in nature. Some define the primitive as a starting point rather than a point beyond what is now known to exist in culture and tradition. It anchors itself on the basic and concrete grounds for existence. His unique style can be given basis through the works of Gauguin who focused on a form of primitivism in his art, depicting life as it was in nineteenth century Tahiti. To gain a better understanding of Cezanne’s form of primitivism, modulated primitivism as it was. It is important to understand the concept and its context during the artist’s lifetime. In this regard, Gauguin’s works would provide an ideal basis in explaining the works of Paul Cezanne. Primitivism is an ancient concept which can be distinguished as chronological primitivism and cultural primitivism. Both concepts are positive with the one engaged with the philosophy of history and period of time in the local culture when the when the best situation of human life might have happened; and the other dealing the discontent of contemporary society.
with civilisation, and stipulating that simplicity (often exemplified by a distant and separate culture because civilised men do not call themselves primitive) are more desirable than what exists in the present. These concepts reached their height during the eighteenth century with large followings on the nobility of the savage. Writings by Rousseau in France and Herder in Germany made the concept of the noble savage popular in Europe during this period. It was in the nineteenth century that the utopian ideas of this concept wee tainted by the expansion for empire and subsequent missionary works.
The positive connotations of primitivism were replaced by the ideas of "barbaric" and "savage". The nobility ensconced in the literary concept of the noble savage was expunged and replaced by the image of real savages which was less desirable and more to be feared. Missionaries capitalised on the paganism, violence and vices of their new native wards and potential converts. These negative traits were highlighted by both Protestant and Catholic missionaries alike. The death of missionary John Williams in 1839 further tainted the image associated with native populations. In 1843, an engraving that was printed in the Illustrated London News showed Polynesians in the midst of an unspeakable and idolatrous religious ceremony. The Polynesians were a new addition to the French colonies and William Vaughan commented that their diet of rats was perhaps "a mindless imitation of their frog-eating masters." Thus began the classification that primitive peoples not merely as separate from, but are of a completely different species from the white man. These new representations illustrate them as having a completely different path of development from their more superior European counterparts.
In the 1840s, the Natural History of Society written by William Cook Taylor stipulated that white society was in constant struggle to return to perfection, while primitive cultures were taking the opposite direction towards ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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