What is the picture of?
Just the two guesses for last week’s picture, from Thumbup at The Playground and Rosa – many thanks to both. Thumbup nailed it pretty quickly – it was indeed the château at Vauvenargues, near Aix en Provence, with the Sainte Victoire in the background. (From last week’s snails to this week’s château may seem quite a jump, but both being in Provence, again I’m adding French Friday to the tag list. Check out TJ’s French Friday feature here.) It was a highly mysterious château, even to the inhabitants of the village, until in 2009 it was opened up to the public, though with very restricted and limited access. This was part of a series of events and exhibitions celebrating the relationship between Cézanne and Picasso. They never actually met, but Picasso was in great admiration of Cézanne, declaring him to be ‘my one and only master’ and ‘the father of us all’. And when the opportunity arose in 1958, Picasso didn’t hesitate to buy the château, less for the building itself than for the thousand hectares of the Ste. Victoire, so often painted by Cézanne, that came with it. ‘I’ve bought Cézanne’s Ste. Victoire,’ he declared to his agent, who thought he meant one of the paintings. ‘Which one?’ he asked. ‘The original,’ Picasso declared delightedly.
He only lived there two years: for all his love of Cézanne, the bitterly cold winters of Provence, which he hadn’t anticipated, proved too much for him. But he and his wife Jacqueline are buried in the grounds of the château, which has remained untouched, like a mausoleum, since the day he died in 1973. Inside, the pots of paint are still open, the easels mounted, the brushes laid out as if he’d only been painting the day before. I found the visit strangely moving, giving an intimate glimpse not just of Picasso, but by extension of Cézanne – the two greatest painters of the modern age, imho.
This week it’s back to What? at the top of this page. Happy guessing!