The Easel

John Elderfield and Terry Winters on Cézanne’s Rock and Quarry Paintings

Cézanne’s greatness requires a dense explanation, which this essay provides. He grasped the modern idea that perception is subjective. For him, a landscape was “unintelligible”, an assemblage of shapes and surfaces, something that changed with the viewer’s position. So, when painting a landscape, what was Cézanne reaching for? “An image of equivalence … a harmony parallel to nature”.